Hotel Online  Special Report


Starwood Capital Group Acquiring Controlling Interest
in Groupe Taittinger, Societe Du Louvre, Europe's
Second Largest Hotel Network


GREENWICH, Conn., July 22, 2005 - Starwood Capital Group ("Starwood Capital"), a closely held real estate investment firm based in Greenwich, Connecticut, today announced it has signed an agreement to acquire a controlling interest in French holding company Groupe Taittinger, owner of Taittinger CVCC, the world's sixth largest champagne producer, and in Societe Du Louvre, Europe's second largest hotel network.
Members of the Taittinger Family, the CNP (Albert Frere Group) and the Societe Fonciere, Financiere et de Participations - FFP, who collectively own more than 65% of the share capital of the Taittinger Group, have all agreed to sell their stakes in the Taittinger Group to Starwood Capital.  This agreement also includes the direct stakes of respectively 15.28% and 6.02% owned by the CNP and FFP in Societe du Louvre, a 44.08% subsidiary of Groupe Taittinger.  The cost of the total investment is approximately 1.2 billion euros.

The sale of the Groupe Taittinger shares will be paid in cash at 336.24 euros/share, 295.89 euros/investment certificate and 

Hôtel Martinez
73, La Croisette
06406 Cannes Cedex - France 
40.35 euros/voting certificate, which equates to an enterprise value of 1,166 million euros for 100% of the Taittinger Group. The sale of Societe du Louvre shares will be done in cash at 147.06 euros/share, 129.41 euros/investment certificate and 17.65 euros/voting certificate, which equates to an enterprise value of 1,689 million euros for 100% of the Societe du Louvre.

Societe Du Louvre owns and operates a unique collection of 14 luxury hotels with over 3,000 rooms in France, Switzerland and Germany, including Le Crillon and Lutetia hotel in Paris and the Martinez in Cannes. It is also the second largest budget hotel chain in Europe, comprising 805 budget hotels (211 owned) with more than 51,000 rooms (15,940 owned) in Europe, including the hotel brands Premiere Classe, Kyriad and Campanile. Societe Du Louvre is also active in the luxury goods business, owning 51.7% of the prestigious Baccarat brand (BCRA.PA) and 100% of Annick Goutal, the well known perfume producer.

"Groupe Taittinger is a company I and the world have admired for a very long time. The Taittinger family and its fine management teams have built and assembled an extraordinary collection of assets, including some of Europe's finest luxury hotels," said Barry Sternlicht, chairman and CEO of Starwood Capital. "We look forward to building on the company's proud heritage by growing its economy hotel business in France and into new markets, particularly Eastern Europe, investing in the renovation and restoration of several of its existing jewel properties and working to extend their famous brands to new assets around the world. In addition, we welcome the Taittinger family's advice and counsel as we work to ensure that the company's prized champagne business finds an appropriate home."

"It is of great importance to my family and myself that Barry and his team will bring a unique expertise and a full commitment to further developing the group our family has built over more than a half century," said Anne-Claire Taittinger, chairwoman of Groupe Taittinger. "We are also very pleased that Barry is committed to taking our advice in finding the most suitable solutions for the champagne business, which carries our name and heritage."

About Starwood Capital

Starwood Capital is perhaps best known for its recapitalization, reorganization and expansion of a troubled real estate investment trust to become what is today Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) ("Starwood Hotels"). Starwood Capital is led by Barry Sternlicht, who for nearly 10 years until May of this year served as the Chairman and CEO of Starwood Hotels. Under Mr. Sternlicht's leadership, Starwood Hotels grew from an $8 million enterprise into a company enjoying a market value in excess of $15 billion today and is the leading international owner/operator of hotels measured by EBITDA in the world, with ownership of brands such as Westin, Sheraton, "W", St. Regis, Luxury Collection and Four Points. Mr. Sternlicht created both the "W" and the St. Regis brands. Six years later, there are more than 50 of these properties operating or under development around the world.

Starwood Capital -- which has offices in London, Tokyo, Greenwich, Connecticut, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta -- has been an innovative leader in real estate investments since its inception in 1991.  Its investors are international and include some of the United States' largest state and corporate pension funds, endowments and high-net worth families from around the world. Currently, Starwood Capital manages a real estate portfolio valued at over $7 billion.  In the past fifteen years, Starwood Capital has closed real estate transactions totalling in excess of $30 billion.  Starwood Capital has invested in nearly every class of real estate on a global basis, including office, retail, residential, senior housing, golf, hotels, resorts and industrial assets. Starwood Capital and Starwood Hotels are currently in a proposed joint venture to acquire the Meridien hotel company.  The recipient of numerous honors and awards, Mr. Sternlicht holds an Honorary Doctor of Business Administration in Hospitality Management from Johnson & Wales University.  He also received the Preston Robert Tisch Distinguished Industry Leadership Award from New York University School for Hospitality, Tourism & Travel Administration, the CEO Diversity Award by Diversity Best Practices/Business Women's Network, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Travel Marketing Executives, and the Hospitality Heritage Award from the American Hotel and Lodging Association.


Starwood Capital Group

Also See: Subsidiary of Starwood Capital Group Acquires the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa / April 2005
Vail Resorts Selling the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort & Spa for $62 Million; Retains 15-Year Management Contract / May 2005

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