$174M Sonesta International Hotels sale raises eyebrows

The Boston Globe reports that Boston's Sonesta International Hotels Corp. is being acquired for $174 million by an affiliate of Hospitality Properties Trust of Newton. The company's portfolio includes the Royal Sonesta Hotel Boston, the Royal Sonesta Hotel New Orleans and the Sonesta Bayfront Hotel Coconut Grove, in Miami. 

Reports say that Sonesta's management team will remain in place and continue to run the company's properties. The purchase price is the equivalent of $31 per share in cash, a 71 percent premium over Sonesta’s closing share price on Oct. 27, the day before Sonesta announced a potential sale. The deal is expected to take place early next year.

Hospitality Properties Trust owns 288 hotels and 185 travel centers in North America.

The sale, however, is drawing some concern. The day the sale was announced, multiple law firms began investigating potential claims against the board of directors of Sonesta International Hotels Corporation concerning "possible breaches of fiduciary duty and other violations of law related to the Company's entry into an agreement to be acquired by Sonesta Acquisition Corporation, an affiliate of Hospitality Properties Trust."  

The investigation concerns whether Sonesta's board of directors adequately shopped the company to obtain the best price possible for Sonesta's shareholders before entering into the agreement. Members of the Sonnabend family holding approximately 55 percent of Sonesta's outstanding shares have entered into voting agreements pursuant to which they have agreed to support the merger.


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