Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., the hotel operator owned by Blackstone Group LP, filed to raise $1.25 billion in a U.S. initial public offering as lodging shares trade at close to their highest level in six years.

The world’s largest hotel chain plans to use proceeds from the offering to pay down debt, according to a regulatory filing today. The McLean, Virginia-based hotelier didn’t say how many shares it will offer or at what price. The offering size is a placeholder amount used to calculate registration fees and may change.

The stock sale will let New York-based Blackstone start realizing gains from its biggest single investment, with almost $7 billion of equity invested from its real estate and other funds. The world’s largest manager of alternative assets will own a majority of the voting power in Hilton following the IPO, the filing shows.

The IPO coincides with increases in lodging revenue and income industrywide, with the shares of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. and Marriott International Inc. close to six-year highs. The stocks of hotel real estate investment trusts are close to a five-year high reached in May. Net income at Hilton, which operates more than 4,000 properties worldwide, rose 39 percent to $352 million in 2012 from a year earlier, on revenue of $9.3 billion, according to today’s filing.

Blackstone’s 2007 takeover of Hilton for $26 billion, which included debt, was the largest ever of a hotel company, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The transaction took place at the height of the biggest buyout boom in history, amid a surge in commercial real estate values.

Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Bank of America Corp. and Morgan Stanley will arrange the IPO, the filing shows. The same banks and JPMorgan Chase & Co. also are helping Hilton refinance about $13.5 billion in debt before the stock sale, a person familiar with the matter said this month.

Editors: Daniel Taub, Julie Alnwick. To contact the reporter on this story: Hui-yong Yu in Seattle at hyu@bloomberg.net. To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at kwetzel@bloomberg.net. 

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Photo Credit: Hilton Frankfurt Airport, in Germany. Daniel Petzold Photography / Flickr