5 things to know: 27 August 2018
5 things to know: 27 August 2018
27 AUGUST 2018 9:27 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • LaSalle says Pebblebrook offer might be ‘superior’
  • NAFTA deal nearing for US, Mexico
  • Tech and people are keys to overcoming next downturn
  • US companies reducing debt amid strong earnings
  • Spiteful hotel hits MLB pitcher with $1m charge

LaSalle says Pebblebrook offer might be ‘superior’: In a news release issued Monday, LaSalle Hotel Properties officials said the company’s board of trustees voted unanimously that the latest offer to buy the real estate investment trust from Pebblebrook Hotel Trust could be viewed as a “superior proposal” when compared to their existing deal with Blackstone Real Estate Partners VIII.

The Blackstone deal—which would pay LaSalle shareholders $33.50 a share in cash—has not yet closed pending a shareholder vote on 6 September. In the release, LaSalle officials noted they have not changed their recommendation in favor of the Blackstone deal and they have also not delayed the vote.

Pebblebrook’s most recent offer would pay LaSalle shareholders 0.92 common shares of Pebblebrook for each LaSalle share and would give shareholders collectively the option of getting up to 30% of the deal in cash at a price of $37.80 per share.

Pebblebrook and Blackstone officials have not yet responded to requests for comment on LaSalle’s announcement.

NAFTA deal nearing for U.S., Mexico: After more than a year of “intense and sometimes fractious negotiations,” the U.S. and Mexico are nearing a deal on an updated North American Free Trade Agreement, according to Bloomberg. The news agency notes a deal between those two countries could open the door for Canada to re-enter negotiations, as well.

Citing anonymous sources, Bloomberg reports “significant breakthroughs between Mexico and the U.S. came during the past several days on automobiles and energy.”

Tech and people are keys to overcoming next downturn: Technology around data and automation has changed drastically since the last economic downturn in 2008, and the way hoteliers balance the power of technology with how people use it will be vital for how the industry fares during the next downturn, writes Hotel News Now’s Robert McCune.

“When we look at what we have available to us today versus 10 years ago, there are such a wide variety of tools … (that enable us) to put customer segments under the microscope and put demand patterns into focus that we couldn’t 10 years ago. … Those systems being so much more sophisticated today really gives us a better lens to look through,” said Karen McWilliams, VP of revenue strategy at Concord Hospitality Enterprises.

U.S. companies reducing debt amid strong earnings: The Wall Street Journal reports that the recent strength in earnings has pushed U.S. companies to scale back on borrowing, which had been reaching elevated levels over the past five years. The newspaper reports that Bank of America Merrill Lynch data indicates earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization growth has matched or exceeded debt growth for each of the last six quarters, following 21 quarters where debt outpaced EBITDA.

As of the end of June, U.S. corporate debt sits at 3.4 times EBITDA. That is down from the peak seen in early 2016 of 3.5 times but still well above the low of 2.6 times immediately following the Great Recession.

Spiteful hotel hits MLB pitcher with $1m charge: There are a few things hotels are apt to stick people with hefty charges for, like smoking or sneaking in pets, but “beating our team in the World Series” likely isn’t at the top of that list at most hotels. That didn’t stop the Beverly Hills Hotel from hitting Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander with a $1-million extra charge after dining at their restaurant, according to Reuters.

The added fee was listed on Verlander’s receipt as “Dodger Killer,” referencing the fact that Verlander’s Houston Astros defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2017 World Series.

The Reuters report does not note whether or not Verlander paid that added charge on top of his $181 meal.

Compiled by Sean McCracken.

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