NEW YORK, April 8, 1998 - The Directors of Blackstone Hotel Acquisitions Company ("BHAC"), Colony Capital, Inc., and the Board of Savoy Hotels plc (LSE: SVOY) announced in London yesterday that they had agreed on the terms of recommended cash offers to be made for the Savoy `A' and `B' shares on behalf of BHAC. BHAC is an investment company formed by Blackstone Real Estate Partners, a real estate investment fund formed by the privately held U.S. investment firm The Blackstone Group, and Colony Capital, Inc., a privately held investment firm.
The Savoy owns and manages four of the most distinguished super luxury, five-star London hotels: The Savoy, Claridge's, The Berkeley and The Connaught, as well as The Lygon Arms, a country house hotel in the Cotswolds. It also owns Simpson's-in-the-Strand restaurant and The Savoy Theatre. The Offers, to be made by Schroders and Merrill Lynch on behalf of BHAC, value the entire issued share capital of the Savoy at $866 million in cash. In addition, Savoy shareholders will receive the dividend of $10 million proposed (but not yet paid) for the year ended December 31, 1997. The Offers value each Savoy `A' share at approximately $25.52 and each Savoy `B' share at approximately $116.62.
Commenting on the Offers, Stephen A. Schwarzman, President, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of The Blackstone Group, said: "We are delighted to have reached agreement with the Board of the Savoy. The Savoy Group represents a unique opportunity for The Blackstone Group to make a substantial investment in luxury hotels in one of the largest and most vibrant hotel markets in the world. The Savoy Group has an excellent management team together with the unique history and goodwill associated with the Company's names: The Savoy, Claridge's, The Berkeley, The Connaught, The Lygon Arms and Simpson's-in-the-Strand. These names combined with the strong existing management team provide a platform to grow a new luxury international hotel group."
Commenting on the Offers, Thomas J. Barrack, Chairman and CEO of Colony Capital, Inc., said: "The hotels that constitute the Savoy Group are unlike any in the world and enjoy an international reputation for quality and service among senior business executives and wealthy leisure travelers. They are truly the crown jewels of the five-star sector and are operated by exceptional managers. Our goal is to expand this exclusive franchise to other select international business markets where the demand for luxury five-star hotels far outweighs the supply. We are pleased to join with the real estate professionals at The Blackstone Group in achieving this objective."
Commenting on the Offers, Sir Ewen Fergusson, Chairman of the Savoy, said:
"The Board of the Savoy is pleased to recommend these Offers for the `A' and `B' shares of the Savoy, which it believes represent attractive value to shareholders. The Savoy's hotels are some of the most distinguished in the world and are a credit to Ramon Pajares and all the employees of the Group. By drawing on the skills of the existing management team and employees, these offers will provide a platform to build on the unique character and history of the Savoy and allow it to grow abroad, whilst maintaining the quality and characteristics of the Savoy's hotels."
Blackstone Senior Managing Director John Z. Kukral, who has been involved with many of the firm's hotel purchases and has been in the forefront of the day-to-day negotiations concerning the Savoy, added:
"Our purchase of the Savoy represents both an opportunity and a responsibility. It is a sound investment for our limited partners with potential for international growth. We believe we can work with Savoy's outstanding management team to further extend the Savoy name as the world's leading luxury hotel brand. At the same time, we recognize our responsibility to maintain the quality and tradition that is the Savoy in all we do. We are particularly pleased to be working with our friends at Colony Capital on this transaction."
BHAC attaches great importance to retaining the skills and experience of the management and employees of the Savoy. Sir Ewen Fergusson, Ramon Pajares and Alan Fort will continue in their existing roles within the Savoy Group after the Offers have become unconditional. It is intended that the Savoy will remain a distinct business controlled by The Blackstone Group.
The Blackstone Group L.P. is a privately held investment firm headquartered in New York City. The Blackstone Group was established in 1985 by Peter G. Peterson, former Chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce during the Nixon Administration, and Stephen A. Schwarzman, former Chairman of Lehman Brothers' Mergers and Acquisitions Committee.
The Blackstone Group's real estate investment activities are led by Senior Managing Directors John Z. Kukral and Thomas J. Saylak. Real Estate is one of five areas of business focus at The Blackstone Group. The others are Principle Investment in corporate situations (where Blackstone Capital Partners III, with nearly $4 billion in equity capital, was the largest such fund raised in 1997); Mergers Acquisitions Advisory; Restructuring Reorganization Advisory; and Liquid Alternative Asset Management.
Blackstone Real Estate Partners II L.P.
The Blackstone Group is currently investing its second real estate private
equity fund, Blackstone Real Estate Partners II L.P. ("BREP II"), with
over $1.1 billion in committed capital for real estate investments. BREP
II, together with The Blackstone Group's first real estate fund, currently
holds approximately $4.5 billion worth of real estate assets, including
buildings representing over 10 million square feet of office space in the
United States and Europe (with major holdings in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles,
New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, London and Paris), and luxury and
upscale hotels such as Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton and Hyatts with more
than 5,800 rooms. An affiliate of The Blackstone Group also holds significant
stock interests in Cadillac Fairview, the largest
property company in Canada.
Colony Capital, Inc. ("Colony")
Colony, founded in 1991, is a private, international investment firm focusing primarily on real estate-related assets and operating companies with a strategic dependence on such assets. Since its founding, Colony has invested approximately $3 billion in real estate-related assets. As part of its investment strategy, Colony has purchased some of the most famous luxury hotels in the world, including: Amanresorts, the five-star luxury chain, known for its spectacular resort properties in tropical natural settings in Asia and the South Pacific; The Orchid at Mauna Lani and the Hilton Waikoloa Village in Hawaii; and The Mayfair Hotel and The Stanhope Hotel in New York City. In addition to hotels, areas of investment focus for Colony include the acquisition or recapitalization of operating companies with reliance on real estate assets, residential land investments and joint venture commercial development. In the UK, Colony is also a partner with Richard Branson in Virgin Entertainment Group Limited. Colony recently raised its third real estate investment fund, Colony Investors III, L.P., with $1 billion of committed capital. Colony is led by Thomas J. Barrack, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and Kelvin L. Davis, President and Chief Operating Officer.
The Savoy Group owns and manages four of the most distinguished super luxury five-star hotels in London: The Savoy, Claridge's, The Berkeley and The Connaught, as well as the Lygon Arms, a country house hotel in the Cotswolds. It also owns the Simpson's-in-the-Strand restaurant and The Savoy Theatre.
In the year to December 31, 1997, the Savoy reported profits before tax and exceptional items from continuing operations of $37.3 million on turnover of $168.9 million. Adjusted earnings per Savoy `A' share were $1.05 and per Savoy `B' share were 53 cents.
The Offers are not being made, directly or indirectly, in or into the
United States or by use of the mails or any means or instrumentality (including,
without limitation, facsimile transmission, telex and telephone) of interstate
or foreign commerce of, or any facilities or a national securities exchange
of, the United States and the Offers cannot be accepted by any such use,
means, instrumentality or facility or from within the United States. The
translation of British pounds into U.S. dollars is at the rate of exchange
in effect at April 7, 1998 of British(pound)1 equals US $1.666.