Deadline Passed for the Receipt of Indicative Bids for the Forte Empire

December 5, 2000 — HVS International — The forthcoming breakup of Forte Hotels is one step closer as the deadline passed this week for the receipt of indicative bids.

The auction is being managed by the investment banks Schroder Salomon Smith Barney and Dresdner Kleinwort Benson who have divided the estate into four divisions; Le Meridien, Posthouse, Heritage Hotels and four London Signature hotels.

Eight bidders are believed to have entered the auction; these include international hotel companies, Bass, Hilton, Marriott and Starwood; and private equity players Nomura, Blackstone, Strategic Hotel Capital and Doughty Hanson.

Accor, whose bid to buy the whole portfolio fell through, is still considered to be a likely contender for the 124-strong Le Meridien hotels.

Most bids are expected to focus on the Le Meridien brand, expected to fetch around £2 billion, although parties such as Jarvis and NH Hoteles have been cited as possible contenders for the Posthouse brand.

One view is that a joint bid may be a distinct possibility to help secure a successful acquisition.

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