Accor’s budget hotels snapped up in nation’s “most watched” deal

In one of the biggest portfolio deals in Australian accom history, fund and investment manager iProsperity Group has bought AccorInvest’s 23-hotel collection for $300 million.

Described by the Financial Review as “one of the most watched hotels deal in Australia”, iProsperity (iPG) shook off competition from local and global players to seal the deal on the portfolio of predominantly freehold economy hotels.

The 23-hotel collection was listed for sale in July 2018 by the real estate development arm of the French hotel giant and comprises 1,797 rooms across 17 freehold assets and 1,249 rooms over six lease interests.

AccorInvest is majority owned by overseas sovereign investment funds and encompasses almost 900 owned or leased hotels, its newly-sold Australian portfolio a very minor part of the whole.

The hotels sold are spread across major capital cities and regional areas and include four ibis hotels and 13 ibis Budget hotels, including the ibis Hotel and Apartments Melbourne, ibis Sydney Airport, ibis Budget Sydney Olympic Park and ibis Newcastle.

The lease interests include The COMO Mgallery by Sofitel in Melbourne, the Novotel Brisbane, Mercure and ibis hotels in Brisbane and the Mercure and ibis hotels in Perth.

When the portfolio went to market, Craig Collins of broker JLL Hotels and Hospitality Group said it was the first time such an offering had been presented to the open market in Australia.

”The pure scale of this portfolio and its diversity, in terms of location, market positioning and income profile, presents investors with an opportunity to immediately establish an unparalleled foothold in one of Asia Pacific’s most highly sought-after hotel investment destinations,” he said.

“Economy hotels are a highly proven and successful hotel model in the Australian market. Their typically low operating costs and high level of profitability make them very attractive investments.”

iPG, a Hong Kong-backed investment group founded by Michael Gu, has become an increasingly active player in the Australian hotels and hospitality market.

A major shareholder in Canberra Casino operator Aquis Entertainment and owner of Melbourne’s  Pullman on the Park, it sold the Novotel Melbourne, the Sydney Park Regis Hotel and Hobart’s trailblazing MACq 01 Hotel earlier this year.

The group declined to comment on the latest acquisition, but according to the Financial Review, iPG has a management and exit plan to operate the portfolio for several years before potentially selling the properties again.

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