5 things to know: 29 June 2018
5 things to know: 29 June 2018
29 JUNE 2018 9:23 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • AccorHotels buying half of SBE
  • California adopts strict new data rules
  • Travel industry seeks welcoming message after ban ruling
  • FEMA hotel program ending in days
  • Mexican presidential election expected to mark seismic shift

AccorHotels buying half of SBE: AccorHotels has announced the company has “signed a letter of intent and entered into exclusive negotiations” to buy a 50% stake in luxury lifestyle hotel and restaurant company SBE Entertainment Group, according to a news release. The equity is currently held by Cain International. Sam Nazarian, founder and CEO of SBE, will continue to hold a 50% stake, as well.

Accor will pay $125 million for its portion of the company along with providing $194 million for “a new preferred debt instrument that will be used to redeem all existing preferred units,” bringing the total investment to $319 million. SBE’s existing management team, including Nazarian, will remain in place.

In the release announcing the deal, Nazarian called the deal “a new milestone in SBE’s history.”

“Building on our acquisition of Morgans Hotel Group in 2016, this investment will further accelerate our growth both domestically in the United States and in new markets internationally, particularly in Europe,” he said.

The release also notes that Accor chairman and CEO Sébastien Bazin believes the deal will provide his company with extra heft in “the luxury lifestyle space worldwide.”

“‘The new luxury’ is all about exclusive experiences and incredible lifestyle concepts and SBE brands have the perfect know-how that will complete perfectly the AccorHotels portfolio,” he said.

California adopts strict new data rules: California lawmakers have passed a package of “unprecedented protections for (consumer) data” along with new rules governing the technology industry, The Wall Street Journal reports. The newspaper notes the new rules could end up serving as “a privacy template for the rest of the nation.”

The new rules broaden the definition of what’s considered personal information and gives people the ability to restrict the sale and sharing of their information. The Journal notes tech companies are expected to make overall shifts in their handling of private information even though the rules only apply to consumers in California. The rules will go into effect in 2020.

Travel industry seeks welcoming message after ban ruling: The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from a handful of countries around the world didn’t exactly send the message that the U.S. is the most inviting and open country in the world, but some high-level officials involved in the U.S. travel industry are hoping to paint a brighter picture. The New York Times reports that travel officials are looking to “turn the page on a bad public relations chapter.”

“The most important thing is the administration has got to change its rhetoric to welcoming legitimate travelers from around the world because the noise has been so loud around this issue that we’ve been hurt in inbound international travel,” U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said.

FEMA hotel program ending in days: About 2,500 families that have been housed in hotels after being displaced by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in 2017 will see the end of the FEMA housing assistance program on 1 July, The Weather Channel reports. The program had been extended seven times, the agency notes, and benefits could still be offered to some families in need.

According to FEMA information reported by The Weather Channel, roughly 1,200 Puerto Rican families are still housed in hotels after their homes were damaged or destroyed in hurricanes Irma and Maria and more than 800 Hurricane Harvey survivors are being housed in Texas.

Mexican presidential election expected to mark seismic shift: Corruption and security concerns across Mexico have voters in that country seeking major changes at the polls this weekend when the country is set to elect a new president, The Wall Street Journal reports. Security in particular has been repeatedly pointed to as a concern for the country’s travel industry.

The heavy favorite in the election is former Mexico City Mayor Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has as much as a 25-percentage point lead in some polls. The newspaper describes López Obrador as a “leftist nationalist.” His economic goals include building more oil refineries and “trying to achieve food self-sufficiency.”

Compiled by Sean McCracken.

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