Hilton UK in £3.6 billion merger talks

Hotel News - 14/10/2005

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Anyone planning on travelling via Heathrow, Stansted or Gatwick airports, and who is therefore maybe thinking of staying at the Hilton Park Lane or Metropole hotels while in London, may well be interested in news of the potential reunification of the North American and British-based international Hilton brands after over 40 years apart.

Both companies have confirmed that US-based Hilton Hotels has bid £3.6 billion for the hotel division of British company Hilton Group.

The transaction would leave Hilton Hotels with a portfolio of around 2,700 hotels, and combine two companies that had been one until Hilton Hotels took the decision to sell off its properties abroad in 1964.

'Discussions are ongoing and subject to the resolution of a number of issues,' Hilton Group announced in a statement.

'Consequently, there can be no certainty that a sale of Hilton International will take place.'

The deal would leave Hilton group to focus on its bookmaking chain Ladbrokes, which accounts for 60 per cent of its annual operating profits.

Less than four months ago, Hilton Hotels' co-chairman and chief executive Stephen Bollenbach told the Wall Street Journal that he could foresee no such merger taking place before his retirement in December 2007.

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