While Morgans will no doubt enjoy ending the long-running discussion about how it will end nearly a year of speculation about its future, we're not sure that SBE is the suitor it eventually wanted to go home with.
Sam Nazarian’s SBE, which manages luxury properties such as the SLS Beverly Hills and nightclubs including Hyde, is close to an agreement to merge with boutique lodging company Morgans Hotel Group Co., said two people with knowledge of the discussions.
The deal may be completed as early as this month, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because negotiations are continuing. Nazarian, founder and chief executive officer of SBE, would lead the combined company and SBE would be its majority owner, the person said.
Morgans, which manages nine hotels in North America including the Delano South Beach in Miami, last year announced it hired Morgan Stanley to help explore strategic alternatives, including a sale. In 2013, the boutique-hotel company was targeted by both billionaire Ronald Burkle and an activist firm after a shareholder ouster of its board.
Burkle, who owns preferred stock, notes and warrants in Morgans through his Yucaipa Cos., will be on the board of the combined company, said one of the people with knowledge of the talks.
Nazarian declined to comment. Burkle and Nathaniel Garnick, a Morgans spokesman with Sard Verbinnen & Co., didn’t immediately return telephone calls seeking comment.
The talks were reported earlier today by the Wall Street Journal.
Morgans rose 7.1 percent to $5.59 at 3:55 p.m. in New York trading.
This article was written by Nadja Brandt from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
Photo credit: Advertising for the SLS Las Vegas. SBE