by Michael J. Shapiro | October 24, 2016

China's HNA Group will pay US$6.5 billion for a 25 percent stake in Hilton Worldwide from affiliates of Blackstone, Hilton's current primary stakeholder. Following the purchase, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017, Blackstone will maintain about a 21 percent stake in Hilton.

The closing of the deal is expected to coincide with Hilton's previously announced spinoff of Park Hotels & Resorts and Hilton Grand Vacations. At that point, HNA would own about 25 percent of all three companies.

The HNA Group, which purchased Carlson Hotels this past spring, will appoint two representatives to Hilton's board of directors, bringing the total to 10 members. HNA has agreed to restrictions on its ability to sell any interest in Hilton for two years, as well as to limitations on its ability to purchase more than 25 percent of outstanding shares without Hilton's consent. Blackstone will continue to have two members on Hilton's board.

"We are pleased to welcome HNA Group as a long-term investor and strategic partner," said Christopher J. Nassetta, president and CEO of Hilton. "HNA Group has a broad portfolio of successful travel and hospitality businesses, and a proven track record of creating value in this industry. We believe this mutually beneficial relationship will open new opportunities for our brands and guests around the world, particularly in light of HNA's strong position in the fast-growing Chinese travel-and-tourism market, the largest outbound travel-and-tourism market in the world."