Jin Jiang acquires majority stake in Radisson Hospitality

Radisson Hospitality has officially changed hands.

A consortium led by Shanghai's Jin Jiang and SINO-CEE Fund—a private equity fund incorporated in Luxembourg—entered into an agreement with Radisson Hospitality and HNA Sweden Hospitality Management AB—an indirectly wholly owned subsidiary of HNA Tourism Group—to acquire 50.21 percent of Radisson's shares. The acquisition was facilitated through Aplite Holdings AB, with 87,552,187 shares trading to the consortium for 35 Swedish Crowns per share, or US$3.86.

John M. Kidd, CEO and COO for Radisson Hospitality, was in Asia for the closing and was unavailable for comment as of press time. He issued the following statement instead:

“This marks yet another incredible milestone in our company’s storied history and one that I’m confident will elevate Radisson Hotel Group to a new level of strength as a global leader in the hospitality industry. When we announced our re-branding earlier this year to Radisson Hotel Group, we shared our vision for the company, which was to be the company of choice for guests, owners and talent.

“We are now owned by one of the leading travel and hospitality companies—the fifth largest hotel company in the world. Additionally, Jin Jiang’s loyalty program encompasses more than 100 million members. This type of size, coupled with the record number of Chinese consumers traveling abroad, provides a number of new opportunities for Radisson Hotel Group.
The consortium led by Jin Jiang will work with us to improve and execute our five-year plan.”

Evolution of a Deal

The rumors of the acquisition first circulated in early August and were confirmed just days later. At the time, Jin Jiang was reportedly after 51.15 percent of Radisson’s outstanding shares, but today’s news shows the company dropping its target slightly to 50.21.

Now, as part of the Swedish Public Takeover Act, the consortium’s investment vehicle Aplite is  obligated to either launch a mandatory tender offer for Radisson’s remaining outstanding shares, or sell down its ownership in the company below 30 percent within four weeks of the completion of the acquisition, or no later than Dec. 11.

The transaction is poised to make Jin Jiang the world’s seventh-largest hotel operator with 344,000 rooms, STR estimated earlier this year. Radisson Hotel Group's portfolio has more than 1,400 hotels and 220,000 guestrooms operating or in development under its eight brands worldwide.

Wheeling and Dealing 

HNA acquired Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, now Radisson Hotel Group, two years ago in a move that some shareholders saw as a conflict of interest. At the time, HNA owned almost 30 percent of NH Hotels and Carlson Rezidor was viewed as a direct competitor. Subsequently, London hedge fund Oceanwood Capital Management, which owned a 10-percent stake in NH Hotel Group, called for the chairman of NH Hotel Group to temporarily stand down until the company resolved any conflict of interest related to HNA's buy of Carlson Rezidor.

Jin Jiang has been on an acquisition campaign for several years now, acquiring Louvre Hotels in 2014, an 80-percent stake in Vienna Hotel Group in 2016 and India’s Sarovar Hotels in 2016. The company attempted to acquire AccorHotels in 2016, but the deal fell through. The company also signed a partnership with Magnuson Hotels on a global distribution platform in 2017. It also owns 12 percent of France’s Accor SA. 

Radisson, meanwhile, has been particularly active throughout 2018 with the launch of a new unified technology solution, “Emma,” and increased development with new hotels planned for locations in Georgia, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, India and Cyprus.

The Purchaser and the Consortium have retained Baker & McKenzie Advokatbyrå KB as legal advisor.