Wyndham's India plans could include an acquisition

Last month, we noted that Wyndham Hotel Group was looking to open 50 new hotels in India by 2018. If rumors are to be believed, the group is making progress: A local site is reporting that WHG is now "scouring" several acquisition targets in India. Industry sources told DNA India that WHG president and CEO Geoff Ballotti, along with key company executives, was recently in New Delhi to discuss and evaluate acquisition possibilities.

The site claims that the WHG team met with the top executives of Anil Madhok-promoted Sarovar Hotels & Resorts, a privately owned Indian hotel chain. Ritesh Chandra, executive director and head - consumer group, Avendus Capital is mediating the deal for Sarovar Hotels, in which the U.S. private equity major Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co (KKR) recently acquired a majority stake.

But no deal has been set in stone yet: Ajay Bakaya, executive director, Sarovar Hotels & Resorts, said that Sarovar was "definitely" not looking at sale. "We have private equity firms (Bessemer Venture Partners Trust and New Vernon Private Equity) as financial investors in the company and they would be happy to flip stake provided there was a good offer. That's all on the books at the moment," Bakaya said.

WHG has 7,670 hotels (25 of which are in India) and 667,000 rooms. Sarovar has 69 operational hotels across 48 cities with a total of 5,600 guestrooms, as well as 19 hotels in various stages of development. Sarovar's current footprint includes 10 hotels in the premium segment (Sarovar Premiere), 37 hotels in the mid-market segment (Sarovar Portico) and eight in the budget segment (Hometel). It also has a franchise agreement with Carlson Hotels for eight Park Plaza hotels, three Park Inn hotels, and one Radisson hotel. In the international market, Sarovar manages one Portico and two Premiere branded hotels in Nairobi and one Premiere hotel in Tanzania.