Blackstone to pursue La Quinta IPO rather than sale -source


By Olivia Oran

Nov 25 (Reuters) - Blackstone Group LP is eyeing anIPO for La Quinta Inns & Suites rather than a sale of the hotelchain, according to a source familiar with the process.

Blackstone believes La Quinta can attract a higher valuationin the public markets, the source said. Blackstone, the largestpublicly listed alternative asset manager, earlier this monthsaw shares of its Extended Stay America hotel chain soar 19percent in their first day of trading following an IPO.

Bloomberg reported the La Quinta news earlier on Monday.

Reuters reported earlier that Blackstone was seeking as muchas $4.5 billion for the La Quinta chain in an auction thatattracted interest from hospitality holding companies such asChoice Hotels International Inc as well as privateequity firms.

Blackstone took La Quinta private in 2006 in a $3.4 billiondeal.

With more than 550 hotels in 39 states, La Quinta is one ofthe largest owners and operators of budget hotels in the UnitedStates.

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