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Viceroy may be able to accelerate its growth and brand awareness given Highgate's scale and track record. Of course, that is if Highgate can execute well after the deal closes.

Hotel real estate investor and management company Highgate signed a deal to acquire Viceroy Hotels & Resorts as Highgate intensifies its quest to add luxury lifestyle hotels to its already ample portfolio.

Highgate, which said it already owns or manages 500 hotels with more than 84,000 rooms, announced the deal Thursday without detailing any of the financials. The deal to acquire the Los Angeles-based Viceroy, with its Icon Collection, Lifestyle Series and Urban Retreats categories, is expected to close early in 2023, Highgate said.

Viceroy’s properties span destinations, including Los Cabos and Riviera Maya, Mexico; Santa Monica and San Francisco, California; Chicago, Illinois; Snowmass, Colorado, Washington D.C., St. Lucia, and Kopaonik, Serbia. Viceroy currently has 11 hotels in operation, and it is slated to open a property in Portugal in 2023 and Panama in 2024.

Highgate, which since at least late 2021 has been pursuing deals for luxury and lifestyle hotels and prefers buying portfolios then adding one hotel at a time, plans to add properties to Viceroy’s collections. One of Highgate’s goals is to heighten Viceroy’s brand awareness.

“We look forward to working with the Viceroy team to add visible and impactful hotels to the platform, and cement Viceroy as one of the most noteworthy luxury lifestyle hotel brands in the industry,” said Richard Russo, principal at Highgate, in a statement. “In the coming months, we will be announcing exciting additions to the portfolio in major urban gateway markets and select resort destinations that will invoke the distinct quality and luxury service that Viceroy has long been known for.”

Russo added that Viceroy’s partners, guests and owners would see added value because of Highgate’s scale. Highgate is considered the second largest hotel management firm in the U.S., with corporate offices in New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle, Waikiki and London.

“The Viceroy acquisition provides us with yet another tool to create value for our partners and third party owners,” Russo said via email.  “We will be able to leverage the years of brand awareness and customer loyalty Viceroy has built, in order to help position differentiated luxury/lifestyle hotels, fueling financial performance and increasing asset value.  Further, the Viceroy team is comprised of extremely talented individuals that are passionate about delivering on the brand promise, providing best-in-class customer service all while driving profitability and delivering value to owners and communities.”

Russo said the Viceroy acquisition fits in with Highgate’s ongoing strategy to expand “into key U.S. gateway markets and resort destinations, increase our growing presence in Europe, through Viceroy Kopaonik in Serbia and Viceroy Ombria in Portugal (which will open in 2023), and add some of the most visible hotels in the Caribbean and Latin America with the Sugar Beach Resort in St. Lucia, and Viceroy’s in Cabo and Riviera Maya in Mexico.”

He declined to comment on whether Viceroy had put itself up for sale and whether there were any other bidders. 

“We are excited for Viceroy’s future and we believe that this acquisition will not only fuel the future expansion of our brand, but also give us a true partner, one who will offer incredible support, opportunity and collaboration,” said Bill Walshe, Viceroy’s CEO, in a statement. “This deal will accelerate our momentum, and solidify our position as the leading modern luxury lifestyle brand in our space.”

Highgate didn’t provide any details on what changes, if any, it might make to Viceroy’s leadership or operations once the deal closes.

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Tags: future of lodging, highgate, lifestyle hotels, luxury, m&a, mergers and acquisitions, property management companies, viceroy

Photo credit: Viceroy's Sugar Beach resort in St. Lucia. Highgate signed a deal to acquire Viceroy Hotels. Viceroy Hotels

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