London: InterContinental Hotels, the company behind Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn, has rejected a £6bn bid from a US suitor, according to weekend reports.
The FTSE 100-listed company’s board was said to have met a few weeks ago to consider the offer, but decided it was too low. Possible bidders included Starwood Hotels & Resorts, owner of the Le Meridien, or a specialist investment fund such as Starwood Capital, according to Sky News.
InterContinental’s attraction to an American business would be to help it save billions by moving its tax domicile to Britain, one of the reasons behind Pfizer’s approach to AstraZeneca. Bankers believe more so-called “tax inversion deals” could be on the way.
Despite the rejection, the predator could return with a new offer, or a rival suitor could emerge. InterContinental’s share purchases in recent days would seem to indicate no talks are taking place. InterContinental Chairman Patrick Cescau, and CEO Richard Solomons have pleased investors with their strategy of moving towards managing hotels rather than owning them. Earlier this month, the company said it would return $750m to shareholders, funded by the sale of unwanted hotels. The most recent disposals included the InterContinental Mark Hopkins hotel in San Francisco and its 80 percent stake in the New York Barclay, with analysts suggesting the company had a further $1bn worth of property it could sell.