|By George C. Ford, The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa|
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Feb. 9, 2005 --A new bidder has emerged for John Q. Hammons Hotels Inc., owner of the Cedar Rapids Marriott.
JQH Acquisition LLC, formed by a group of investors, has offered $24 per share for the Springfield, Mo.-based operator of upscale hotels. The two companies announced Friday that they have agreed to exclusive negotiations through Feb. 28.
Earlier in the week, hotel chain owner Barcelo Crestline of Spain and McLean, Va., withdrew its offer for John Q. Hammons Hotels after its exclusive negotiating period ended Jan. 31. The Barcelo deal had priced the John Q. Hammons Hotels at $21 per share.
In a statement, John Q. Hammons Hotels said some of its Class A shareholders, excluding founder and majority shareholder John Hammons, have agreed to vote their shares in favor of JQH Acquisition's proposal and against any other proposals.
David Sullivan, chairman of a special committee representing John Q. Hammons Hotels' board of directors and shareholders, said he was disappointed that an agreement had not been reached with Barcelo Crestline. Sullivan said he was excited about the latest offer, but cautioned that a sale agreement has yet to be negotiated.
"There are a number of items that remain to be negotiated, including the terms of a merger agreement and the contractual arrangements between the investor group and Mr. Hammons," Sullivan added.
John Q. Hammons Hotels owns 46 hotels in 20 states and manages 14 additional hotels in seven states.
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