Luxury conglomerate LVMH has expanded its hospitality business by beating numerous other bidders to acquire the high-end hotel owner and operator Belmond Ltd. Craig Karmin reports in MarketWatch:
The deal is the latest sign that luxury travel is booming after an extended downturn, when many leisure travelers and businesses shunned paying up for high-end accommodations.
The hospitality company has full or partial stakes in virtually all of its 36 hotels, making it one of the last hotel operators to own most of the properties its manages. The hotels include Cipriani in Venice, the Grand Hotel Europe in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro.
After years of spurning all takeover offers, the Belmond board announced in August that it had initiated a strategic review that effectively put the company up for sale. Belmond’s share price has soared more than 50% since the announcement.
Founded as Orient-Express Hotels, the business became a stand-alone company in 2000 and changed its name to Belmond in 2014. It also offers luxury train rides, including the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, river cruises in Europe and Asia, and owns the venerable “21” Club restaurant in New York City.
For LVMH, the acquisition of Belmond will expand its reach in the luxury world and greatly increase its position in the hospitality business. The luxury-goods company has the Bulgari hotel brand and Cheval Blanc, a collection of luxury properties.
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