December 22, 2000 — HVS International — The sale of the Granada Compass hotel division dominates the hotel press. Rumours abound concerning who is included on the short list of bidders. Ironically, however, it fell to an e-mail blunder by the law firm Freshfields, who are acting on behalf of Granada Compass, to disclose the bidders' identities.
The bidders include the Orient Express Group, Bear Stearns, HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, Cinven, Nomura, Marriott, Bass, ING, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Hand Picked Hotels and HCA.
Analysts believe that Orient Express and Hand Picked Hotels, whose properties are operated by Macdonald Hotels, are likely to be bidding for the Heritage hotels. Prince Alwaleed could potentially be working with Accor; Bear Sterns is thought to be representing the US-based Omni Hotels; and ING has advised Millennium and Copthorne on a number of previous occassions.
Le Meridien remains the most sought-after brand, although Cinven is thought to be a likely contender for Posthouse.
In a further report, the former Chief Executive of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Juergen Bartels, is overseeing Nomura's Principal Finance Arm's bid for the Forte Hotel Group. The sale is expected to be complete by March next year.
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HVS in 2000: Celebrating 20 Years of Valued Hospitality Consulting Service
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