We should take this deal talk with a grain of salt until there's a term sheet. That said, the budget hotel sector in the UK has boomed post-pandemic, boosting the financial performance of privately held Travelodge.
Travelodge, a UK-based budget hotel operator, could change ownership in a potentially billion-plus-dollar deal that would cash in on surging hotel bookings after the pandemic, according to two media reports Saturday.
U.S. hedge fund GoldenTree Asset Management, which has control of Travelodge, was said to be valuing the company at about $1.5 billion (£1.2 billion), according to The Times (of London).
The privately held Travelodge, led by CEO Jo Boydell, revealed last month that its 2022 revenues were about $1.1 billion (£909.9 million) — or about 25% higher than its pre-pandemic performance in 2019.
The budget chain of 595 hotels leases its properties. That may make it unattractive as a target for the major global hotel groups, which have been moving toward the asset-light model over the decades. In theory, a new owner could split the assets from the Travelodge operating business and brand, making it more similar to companies such as Marriott and IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), whose properties are owned by third parties while the groups act as management companies and brand developers.
Regulatory authorities might balk at larger UK-based budget rival Premier Inn making a bid for its smaller rival.
Last month Travelodge said it aimed to open 300 more properties across the UK in the coming years.
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Photo credit: Image of the exterior of the Travelodge Gatwick Airport Central property in Dorking, UK. Source: Travelodge.