by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | November 21, 2017
Barceló Group has made a tentative takeover bid for its rival, Madrid-based NH Hotel Group, a merger that would create the largest hotel operator in Spain. The combined company would represent more than 600 hotels across Europe and South America, with annual revenues of over US$4 billion.
 
Family-owned Barceló Group has more than 230 hotels in 21 countries, of which 49 percent are in the U.S., 33 percent in Europe and the Mediterranean, and the remainder in South America. NH has more than 400 hotels, 27 percent of which are in Central Europe and 25 percent in Spain.
 
Barceló completed two important acquisitions in the past two years. In 2015 it bought Occidental Hotels, with 11 hotels in Mexico, six in the Dominican Republic, two in Costa Rica and one in Aruba. At the time, Barceló said it was considering making capital investments of up $150 million in the acquired portfolio.
 
In April of this year, Barceló reached an agreement with AR Global to buy the remaining 60 percent stake in the U.S. hotel management company Crestline Hotels & Resorts, one of the country's largest independent operator of hotels, giving Barceló full ownership. Crestline Hotels & Resorts currently manages 112 properties under the Marriott, Hilton, InterContinental and Hyatt brands, as well as independent hotels and conference centers.
 
Meanwhile, in June 2016, NH Hotels' shareholders voted to oust one of its co-chairs and three other board members appointed by the company's largest stakeholder, China's HNA Group, because of a potential conflict of interest over HNA's purchase of Carlson Hotels, owner of the Radisson hotel chain, for an undisclosed sum. The purchase granted the company majority ownership of Sweden's Rezidor Hotel Group.