Hilton Group PLC is edging closer to a deal with its US counterpart Hilton Hotels Corporation about a bid for the UK-based group's hotel assets with a deal 'weeks' rather than months away, according to a spokesman for the UK hotels company.
'Talks between the two parties are still continuing and are progressing well. We're pretty close to a deal,' Hilton Group's corporate affairs director Alex Pagett told AFX News this morning.
Last month, Hilton Group's chief executive David Michels said there was only a '50/50' chance of a deal. But today Pagett said he was confident there would be a 'positive outcome' to the hotel disposal talks. 'I think we've moved on a bit from last month,' he said.
Analysts have suggested that Hilton Group's hotel assets could be worth 3.6 bln stg -- or about 220 pence a share if the proceeds are passed back to shareholders.
If a deal can be done, it would re-unite the North American and British-based international Hilton brands for the first time in more than 40 years. The UK group split from HHC in the 1960s.
A successful conclusion to the hotels sale could also pave the way for a sale of Hilton Group's Ladbrokes betting and gaming division.
Today, the group confirmed press reports that it has received expressions of interest in Ladbrokes, but said it remained focused on concluding the negotiations with HHC before deciding on any action for Ladbrokes.
'Our main focus at the moment are the ongoing talks with HHC. Today we're just flagging up that several private equity firms have approached us over Ladbrokes,' he added.
A report in today's Financial Times said any buyout of Ladbrokes could value the business at between 3.0 and 4.0 bln stg. BC Partners, Blackstone and CVC Capital contacted the company in the last few weeks, the newspaper claimed without citing sources.