by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | August 01, 2018

Paris-based AccorHotels is at it again. This week, the deep-pocketed company announced it had signed an agreement to acquire an 85 percent share in Louisville, Ky.-based 21c Museum Hotels, which has nine properties and one in the development pipeline. The transaction is expected to be completed by year's end.

Last month, Accor inked a deal to acquire a 50 percent stake in New York City-based Sbe Entertainment Group, whose brands include SLS, Delano, Mondrian, Hyde and The Originals, for US$125 million. 

Accor has been on an acquisition-heavy streak since 2016, when it acquired the luxury group Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel (FRHI) brands in a US$2.7 billion deal.
 
In May of this year, the hotel conglomerate, which with its stake in 21c Museum Hotels has 33 brands and counting, completed its acquisition of Australian hotel group Mantra for US$1.2 billion. And in April, it bought a 50 percent stake in South Africa-based hospitality group Mantis and announced it had agreed to purchase Swiss hotel company Movenpick Hotels & Resorts for US$576 million.
 
AccorHotels' majority purchase of 21c Museum Hotels, however, signals its clear desire to continue to gain ground in the luxury boutique segment. 2Ic Museum Hotels will join Accor's MGallery by Sofitel collection of boutique hotels, thereby marking the introduction of the MGallery brand into the U.S. - and signaling the possibility of 21c's footprint expanding internationally. MGallery currently has 91 hotels in 25 countries.
 
Founded in 2006 in Louisville by philanthropists and contemporary art collectors Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, 21c Museum Hotels has carefully grown its art-centric properties in the Midwest. Days ago it opened the 120-room 21c Museum Hotel Kansas City in Missouri. The 131-room 21c Museum Hotel Des Moines (Iowa), with 7,000 square feet of meeting space, is scheduled to open in 2021. But, the company is also on the cusp of expanding its footprint into other regions. It is currently in the design phase for the 135-room 21c Museum Hotel Miami, which will be in that city's colorful Design District.
 
"We are confident that the unique spirit of 21c will not only be preserved, but will flourish within the MGallery collection of boutique hotels," said Steve Wilson of 21c Museum Hotels in a statement. "21c will continue to bring the work of today's most dynamic and engaging contemporary artists to the public, and this partnership will be a tremendous boost for 21c's continued development in North America and abroad."