France's Le Figaro is reporting that AccorHotels is in negotiations to acquire Swiss hotel company Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, though AccorHotels has not substantiated the report.
Should a deal come to fruition, it would be another step by AccorHotels to pivot away from its legacy as a budget hotel operator. It's been nearly two years since AccorHotels announced the acquisition of FRHI Hotels & Resorts, whose brands include Fairmont Hotels, Raffles and Swissôtel, boosting it higher into the luxury stratosphere. Prior to the FRHI purchase, AccorHotels played in the luxury space with its Sofitel brand. AccorHotels has also made strategic investments in Orient Express and Banyan Tree.
Mövenpick manages more than 20,000 rooms in more than 83 hotels across Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. It is owned by Mövenpick Holdings and the Saudi-based Kingdom Group.
Acquisitions have become a frequent occurrence for AccorHotels. It's two most recent deals were in the technology and hotel spaces. In early April, AccorHotels announced a strategic partnership with Africa's Mantis Group, a collection of privately owned, managed and branded properties, wherein AccorHotels will buy a 50-percent stake in the company, adding 28 hotels to its portfolio and strengthening its presence in Africa.
That same month, it acquired Glasgow-based ResDiary, a restaurant reservation and table management platform. ResDiary provides venues with a high-end table management solution, using technology that optimizes their food and beverage revenues and helps control operational costs. "It fully supports the group’s ambition to increase touchpoints with a fast-growing customer base," said AccorHotels Chairman and CEO Sébastien Bazin.
The hospitality industry has seen a spate of M&A, and AccorHotels has been one of, if not the most acquisitive. Further, its reach has no bounds, with acquisitions coming not only in traditional hospitality, but tangential spaces like technology and home-sharing. In 2016, AccorHotels acquired Onefinestay, a luxury private rental brand with a portfolio that includes more than 10,000 homes, for $168 million. Bazin had said it "made a mistake" when it passed up the chance to invest in Airbnb. “We are accelerating the transformation of our business model to capture the value creation linked to the rise of private rentals and also strengthening our presence in the luxury market with a complementary offer,” he said of the deal at the time.
Last year, AccorHotels acquired Travel Keys, a broker in the private vacation rental market, representing a luxury collection of more than 5,000 villas in more than 100 destinations.
Also last year, AccorHotels was in talks to acquire conference and event company Potel & Chabot Group.
Many of these investments, and future ones, are being financed through the spin-off of its property arm, AccorInvest. In February, AccorHotels sold off 55 percent of its real estate business for €4.4 billion to a group of sovereign and institutional investors.