InterContinental Hotels Group Rumored to Be Eyeing Two Hotel Chains, FRHI and Movenpick

According to London's The Sunday Times, U.K.-based InterContinental Hotels Group PLC is considering making a bid for Canadian hotel chain FRHI Hotels & Resorts as well as Swiss-based hotel management company Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts. The news comes after last week's official statement by the global hotel company saying it was not in talks to purchase White Plains, N.Y.-based Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

"Following recent speculation, the board of directors of IHG states that it is not in talks with Starwood with a view to a combination of the businesses," the statement read. After the ouster of Starwood CEO Frits van Paasschen several months ago, and a reshuffling of the company's executives, there had been widespread industry speculation of a bid for Starwood, particularly since management had said it was exploring strategic and financial alternatives in order to increase shareholders value.

The Sunday Times article, citing senior sources, said Starwood (which has 10 brands, including St. Regis, Sheraton, W and Westin) and IHG (whose brands include InterContinental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn) had been considering a deal earlier this year, but "talks never got off the ground" because of regulatory hurdles. The $3 billion deal to buy FRHI and Mövenpick would make IHG the largest hotel company. However, the company could face stiff competition from other players, such as Parsippany, N.J.-based Wyndham Hotel Group, which earlier this year snapped up Dolce Hotels & Resorts; and the deep pockets of Shanghai-based Jin Jiang Hotels, which in January of this year purchased France's Louvre Hotel Group from Starwood Capital Group.

Mövenpick has a staff of 16,000 and manages 82 hotels and resorts in 24 countries, as well as several Nile cruise boats. In addition, it has 20 properties in its pipeline, including one each in Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Morocco. FRHI operates 116 hotels in 34 countries, including such landmark properties as The Savoy in London and the Plaza in New York City. Its brands include Singapore-based Raffles Hotels & Resorts and Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts. IHG, FRHI and Mövenpick did not respond to queries regarding the issue. The Sunday Times article, which requires a subscription to access, can be found at