(Bloomberg) — Blackstone Group Inc. and Starwood Capital Group’s takeover of Extended Stay America Inc. has been approved by the hotel chain’s shareholders.
The preliminary results of the vote show that a majority of the shareholders were for the deal at $20.50 a share, according to a statement on Friday.
The private equity firms agreed to buy Extended Stay in March for $19.50 a share, boosting their offer by $1 per share after opposition from six shareholders, including Tarsadia Capital, which campaigned to block the deal.
Read more: Extended Stay Sued Over $6 Billion Sale to Blackstone, Starwood
Tarsadia and some other investors continued to oppose the deal despite the price increase, arguing the sales process was flawed, the timing was wrong, and the standalone prospects for the company were better than the value being offered.
“While we continue to believe that the board’s process was poorly constructed and that this transaction is not the right outcome for shareholders, we are pleased to have helped secure a better price,” a representative for Tarsadia said in a statement.
Extended Stay, which caters to construction crews, emergency responders, and other long-term guests, was mostly insulated from a historically bad year for the global lodging industry. Occupancy rates were 73% last year at the 563 hotels that the company owns, compared to 42% for all U.S. hotels.
Lodging companies have recovered most of the value they lost when the pandemic halted travel, with a Bloomberg index of real estate investment trusts that own hotels is down less than 6% from February 2020.
Hotel demand, on the other hand, will take years to recover. Leisure travel is bouncing back this summer as vaccinated Americans make up for lost vacations, but sluggish corporate travel means occupancy rates won’t return to 2019 levels until 2023, according to lodging analytics firm STR. Room prices will take even longer to rebound.
Blackstone, meanwhile, is aiming to profit from Extended Stay for the third time. The private equity giant bought the company in 2004 and sold it three years later. The prolific real estate investor, which has described travel as one of its highest conviction themes, was part of a group that bought Extended Stay out of bankruptcy in 2010 and eventually took it public.
“They keep making money on it,” said Michael Bellisario, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. “Isn’t that the simple answer?”
(Adds statement from Tarsadia in fifth paragraph.)
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