From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:
- Ashford Trust withdraws bid to acquire FelCor
- Frits van Paasschen joins CitizenM advisory board
- Hilton pushes for a larger global footprint
- US dollar strengthens ahead of Fed interest rate statement
- The Eagles sue the operators of Hotel California
Ashford Trust withdraws bid to acquire FelCor: In light of the merger agreement between FelCor Lodging Trust and RLJ Lodging Trust, Ashford Hospitality Trust is withdrawing its bid to acquire FelCor, pulling its preliminary proxy statement and will no longer propose seven independent directors for FelCor’s board of directors, according to a news release.
“While Ashford Trust continues to believe that its offer would have been more attractive to shareholders than the RLJ offer, the company has determined that there is no cost-effective, actionable path forward toward an agreement and has withdrawn its non-binding proposal,” the release states. “The company believes that it exercised significant strategic and financial discipline in seeking ways to maximize shareholder value. The company plans to opportunistically liquidate its investment in FelCor stock over time.”
Frits van Paasschen joins CitizenM advisory board: Frits van Paasschen, former CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, is joining the advisory board of Dutch-based CitizenM, according to a news release.
“We’ve enjoyed a remarkable success with the CitizenM model and are now pursuing a strategy of vigorous growth in Europe, the USA and Asia,” said Rattan Chadha, CitizenM founder and CEO, in the news release. “With his background and experience in hospitality and his understanding of technology trends, we know that Frits van Paasschen will prove an enormous asset to us, providing strategic advice on our future development and progress. As a disruptive brand ourselves, we like to work with those who favor innovation and change, and we are delighted to have an executive of his caliber on our board."
Hilton pushes for a larger global footprint: During the company’s first-quarter earnings call, Hilton President and CEO Chris Nassetta spoke about the company’s plan to further drive worldwide growth, HNN’s Bryan Wroten reports. The company increased its pipeline in the quarter by 27,000 new rooms for a total of 325,000, a 16% year-over-year increase.
As the company is now following an asset-light model, the development of new hotels is almost entirely funded by third parties, Nassetta said. Creating this return on investment benefits owners of Hilton properties, allowing the company to increase its franchise rate by 10 basis points each year, he said.
U.S. dollar strengthens ahead of Fed interest rate statement: The U.S. dollar strengthened slightly against most foreign currencies, Reuters reports, as investors watch for the Federal Reserve’s decision on a possible June interest rate increase.
The news agency reports the Fed isn’t expected to raise rates after its meeting today, but investors are waiting to see whether the bank might consider an increase in June, which is currently 65% priced in by markets, according to Reuters data.
“If you look at how markets are positioned right now, it feels like hoping for the best but psychologically braced for a not so positive message (from the Fed),” UBS Wealth Management analyst Geoffrey Yu told Reuters. “The data of late probably hasn’t been enough to justify any excess buoyancy or excess bullishness (but) given the experience of March, when no one thought it was a live meeting and then the Fed turned it into a live meeting, I don’t think anyone would make that mistake again.”
The Eagles sue the operators of Hotel California: The Eagles are taking the operators of the Hotel California in Todos Santos, Mexico, to court, The Wall Street Journal reports. The band has denied any ties to the property for years, and rejects marketing claims that any similarities between the lyrics of song and the property are “coincidences.”
In the lawsuit, the Eagles accuse the operators of “unlawfully cashing in on their song and infringing on the band’s trademark rights,” the newspaper reports.
Compiled by Bryan Wroten.