Monday, January 23, 2006

Hilton Nears Merger, Launches Luxury Hotel Brand

Hilton Hotels Corp. last month took its biggest step toward reunifying with its U.K.-based namesake with an agreement signed in the last days of 2005 to acquire the lodging assets of Hilton Group plc. The deal—subject to a nod from shareholders, governmental clearances and the securing of more than $5.5 billion in funds—is expected to close late next month or in early March, Hilton Hotels Corp. president and COO Matt Hart said last week.

The reattachment of its international arm—severed for more than 40 years—adds more than 400 hotels to the portfolio of Hilton Hotels Corp., which upon completion "will be the largest and most geographically diverse lodging company in the world, with nearly 2,800 hotels and 475,000 rooms in 80 countries," Hilton said in a statement.

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