Hilton Worldwide Holdings filed plans for an initial public offering Thursday, a sign of private equity giant Blackstone Group’s successful turnaround of the world’s largest hotel chain. Blackstone paid $18 billion for Hilton in 2007, and also assumed about $7 billion in existing debt, making the deal one of the largest leveraged buyouts at the time.
Blackstone then went about an aggressive revamp of the company by recruiting new management, restructuring the company’s debt and aggressively expanding Hilton brands internationally.
The IPO filing calls for Hilton to raise $1.25 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal, but sources told the newspaper that the actual amount raised could be closer to $2 billion.
“You can just definitely tell it was a sleepier company beforehand,” Monty Bennett, CEO of Ashford Hospitality Trust, which owns several Hilton-branded hotels, told the Journal. “Now they are definitely more focused and more attuned to the customers and the owners.”
Some analysts now peg Hilton’s value at about $30 billion, according to the newspaper. [WSJ] – Hiten Samtani