Starwood acquires stake in Design Hotels

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide on Tuesday signed an agreement to acquire 49.8% of the shares of Design Hotels AG from Arabella Hospitality SE, one of Starwood’s longtime partners in Germany.

Starwood will not be involved in the day-to-day operations of Design Hotels, nor will Design Hotels participate in any of Starwood’s centralized delivery systems including reservations and Starwood Preferred Guest.

Starwood is now the majority shareholder in the company, with founder and CEO Claus Sendlinger holding 12.94%, private investor Oliver Schmidt holding 56.24% and 32% held by individual freefloat investors.

Berlin-based Design Hotels provides distribution, sales, marketing and consulting services for more than 200 design-driven member hotels in 40 countries.

The opportunity to acquire a stake in Design Hotels came through Starwood’s relationship with Arabella Hospitality SE, which recently re-focused its hotel strategy mainly on ownership and asset management and as a result chose to divest its shares in Design Hotels. Starwood continues to manage or franchise 20 of Arabella Hospitality SE’s hotels in Europe.

“Having Starwood with its leading global footprint and lifestyle brands as an investor is a further validation that Design Hotels is a strong brand of global relevance as we continue to grow and focus on our niche in the new luxury hotel segment,” Sendlinger said. “Furthermore, Starwood has a keen appreciation for what makes Design Hotels distinct and special, the creative spirit of our visionary hoteliers.”

The transaction, which is subject to anti-trust approval in Germany, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2012.

The Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City is among the latest hotels to join Design Hotels.
The Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City is among the latest hotels to join Design Hotels.