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Hilton Doubles IPO Plan

Paul Ausick

Less than a month ago, the planned initial public offering (IPO) for Hilton Worldwide Holdings was expected to raise about $1.25 billion that the company would use to pay down debt. The hotel chain’s current owner, Blackstone Group L.P. (BX) originally filed a Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in September, and it has amended the filing several times since then.

In the latest one, filed on Monday, the private equity firm says it will register 129.74 million shares in a price range of $18 to $21, and that the maximum aggregate offering price would raise $2.72 billion, more than double the original expectation of $1.25 billion. Hilton Worldwide will sell 64.1 million shares, and selling shareholders will sell 48.7 million shares.

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The main underwriters for the IPO are Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley. The underwriters have a green shoe option to purchase 16.92 million additional shares from the selling stockholder.

Net proceeds from the offering are expected to reach $1.21 billion, and Blackstone said it will use the proceeds to pay down approximately $1.25 billion in debt. The private equity company paid $25 billion for Hilton in 2007, including about $14 billion in debt financing. Blackstone will receive no proceeds from the sale other than those it will pass along to the selling stockholder, Hilton Global Holdings, which will hold no stock in Hilton Worldwide following the IPO.

Blackstone and its partners, Centerbridge Partners and Paulson & Co., recently held an IPO for another hotel chain, Extended Stay America Inc. (STAY) that raised about $565 million, which was used to pay down debt related to the acquisition of Extended Stay hotels out of bankruptcy in 2010.

The Hilton Worldwide IPO is tentatively scheduled for early 2014. Shares will trade on the NYSE under the ticker symbol HLT.

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