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Barcelo is said to weigh offer for HNA's stake in NH Hotel
[HONG KONG] Spain's Grupo Barcelo is considering an offer for HNA Group Co.'s US$780 million stake in NH Hotel Group SA, people familiar with the matter said, setting up a potential challenge to Minor International Pcl's pursuit of the hospitality operator.
Closely held Barcelo is working with advisory firm Alantra Partners SA as it weighs a bid for the Chinese conglomerate's nearly 30 per cent holding in the hospitality chain, the people said, declining to be identified as the deliberations are confidential. NH Hotel in January rejected a takeover offer from Barcelo, which aimed to create a "national champion" to step up competition with the world's biggest hotel groups.
No final decisions have been made, and there's no certainty Barcelo will proceed with an offer, the people said. Representatives for Barcelo, HNA and Alantra declined to comment.
HNA, the biggest shareholder of NH Hotel, said May 31 it had received "a number of informal expressions of interest from a relatively broad group of investors," and was in talks regarding its holding. Bangkok-based Minor announced the same day it plans to submit a binding offer for that stake, and that it's analyzing a possible public tender offer for NH Hotel shares, though it hasn't made a final decision or set the terms.
The asset has also attracted interest from potential bidders including Elliott Management Corp. and Apollo Global Management LLC, Bloomberg News reported last week.
HNA, which is selling assets to cut debt after a US$40 billion-plus acquisition spree, said in January it was working with advisers including JPMorgan Chase & Co. to gauge interest in its NH Hotel stake. The Chinese conglomerate has also been whittling down its real estate holdings, selling a San Francisco office tower at 123 Mission St. for about US$300 million to Northwood Investors LLC, people with knowledge of the matter said last week.