Blackstone's Hilton looks to launch IPO week of Dec. 2 -sources

Reuters

By Olivia Oran

Oct 31 (Reuters) - Hotel operator Hilton Worldwide Inc,owned by private equity firm Blackstone Group LP, isaiming to launch its initial public offering the week of Dec. 2,two people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

The people cautioned that the timing of the float couldchange depending upon a regulatory review which is still inprocess. They asked not to be identified because the timing ofthe IPO is still confidential.

Blackstone declined to comment, while a Hiltonrepresentative did not immediately respond to a request forcomment.

Blackstone took Hilton private in 2007 in a $26.7 billiondeal, which was one of the largest leveraged buyouts thatpreceded the 2008 global financial crisis. In September, Hiltonfiled for an IPO to raise $1.25 billion.

Blackstone is hoping the stock market will value Hilton ataround $30 billion, sources previously told Reuters.

Founded in 1919 by Conrad Hilton, the hotel operator'sbrands include such high-end names as Conrad and WaldorfAstoria. Hilton has 4,041 hotels, or 665,667 rooms under itsumbrella, located in 90 countries. The company itself owns orleases 157 hotels, including the Waldorf Astoria in New York andthe Hilton Hawaiian Village.

The IPO comes as Blackstone looks to exit several realestate investments. This week, shopping center unit BrixmorProperty Group Inc raised $825 million in an IPO.

Blackstone in July filed to take another hotel chain,Extended Stay America Inc, public, and the company said onThursday it could be valued at as much as $4.2 billion.

It is also looking to sell or take public hotel chain LaQuinta, potentially valuing it at up to $4.5 billion.

Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, BofA MerrillLynch and Morgan Stanley are the lead underwriters on theHilton offering.

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