Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., the largest publicly traded hotel operator, is considering buying high-end urban hotels or resorts to spend $1.95 billion in proceeds from the sale of Manhattan’s Waldorf Astoria hotel.
Hilton, which earlier this month agreed to sell the property on Park Avenue to China’s Anbang Insurance Group Co., is looking at hotels in U.S. gateway cities and resort properties, Chief Executive Officer Christopher Nassetta said today on a third-quarter earnings call with analysts.
“We’re looking both at large single assets and portfolios, with a focus on the upper-upscale and luxury segment,” he said. “And they’ll be a mixture of assets that are pre-existing in our portfolio of brands, and those that are not, with the objective to have a blend of things.”
Hilton said it will have more specific details on assets and markets in the next 60 to 90 days. The company is seeking to spend the Waldorf proceeds in a so-called 1031 exchange, to defer the payment of capital-gains taxes. Hilton’s sale of the 83-year-old Art Deco building, which occupies an entire block in midtown Manhattan, is the largest ever for a U.S. hotel, according to research firm Lodging Econometrics.
Last December, McLean, Virginia-based Hilton, majority- owned by Blackstone Group LP, raised $2.71 billion in a record initial public offering for the hotel industry.
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