Private investment firm Starwood Capital Group is to expand its reach into the European hotel market after buying hotel, conference and training venue operator Principal Hayley.
The US-based firm bought the 23-strong group, which includes the Grand Central hotel in Glasgow and The George in Edinburgh, yesterday for an undisclosed sum.
Barry Sternlicht, chairman and chief executive of Starwood Capital Group, said: “This transaction marks an exciting investment in the European hotels and conferences sector and provides a great management platform for us to expand further in Europe."
Starwood Capital already has a strong track record in the hotel business, owning the 1,100 strong Louvre Hotel Group and interests in luxury hotel groups Meridien Hotels, Baccarat Hotel & Resorts and 1 Hotels & Resorts and plans to use that to further develop Principal Hayley.
“We intend to use our capital and branding expertise to maximize the value of each property in the portfolio,” said Starwood senior managing director Jeff Dishner.
Principal Hayley has grown its own presence in the UK and Europe from six to 23 properties over the last eight years with a strategy to acquire historic and iconic properties in key city centre locations. It has spent more than £100m on the estate, which includes 4,000 bedrooms and 500 meeting rooms at 22 properties in the UK and one in France.
Principal Hayley chief executive Tony Troy said the acquisition gave the company the chance to grow further.
“We are pleased with the opportunity to work with Starwood Capital, which has extensive experience in the hospitality sector and a very strong track record," he said. "We look forward to the future development of the Group as a platform for growth.”
The management team at Principal Hayley will remain in place for the foreseeable future, a spokesperson confirmed.
“We look forward to working with the Principal Hayley management team to grow the enterprise," added Starwood's Dishner.