Morgan Stanley buys string of luxury hotels from CNL

Morgan Stanley buys string of luxury hotels from CNL

  • Deal is valued at $6.6 billion
  • Purchase includes Doral golf resort

Morgan Stanley has agreed a $6.6 billion (£3.34 billion) deal to buy a string of luxury hotels and holiday resorts, in a move that will give it control of one of America’s most famous golf courses.
The Wall Street bank’s real estate division has secured a deal to buy eight high-end resorts from CNL Hotels & Resorts, which operates 59 luxury hotels and resorts across the United States.

Among the hotels included in the deal is the Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami, which has played host to PGA Tour tournaments for more than 40 years. The Doral operates five championship golf courses, including The Great White Course. Playing a round of 18 holes on the course, designed by Greg Norman, the former world No 1 and twice winner of the Open Championship, costs up to $250.

As part of the deal, the two parties have agreed that CNL will sell 51 of its hotels to Ashford Hospitality Trust, a US investment trust, in a $2.4 billion deal. Morgan Stanley will take control of CNL and its remaining eight high-end properties, which include three properties trading under Hilton’s Waldorf- Astoria brand.

The portfolio of properties being bought by Morgan Stanley Real Estate also includes a Ritz-Carlton- branded property, two JW Marriott properties, The Doral and The Claremont, a resort in California. The properties will give Morgan Stanley a presence in four of America’s key destination regions: Florida, California, Arizona and Hawaii.

Michael Franco, managing director at Morgan Stanley Real Estate, said: “These types of luxury hotels are extremely hard to replicate and will exhibit excellent future growth from increased corporate group travel and leisure travellers seeking a one-of-a-kind experience.”

Morgan Stanley Real Estate was founded in 1969 as a mortgage brokerage business. It has widened to encompass banking, lending and investment. The group led the consortium that in 2004 bought Canary Wharf in London.

The CNL purchase comes as the group finalises a deal to dispose of 32 of its properties to Whitehall, an affiliate. Morgan Stanley’s deal with CNL includes the assumption of the company’s outstanding debt.

CNL Hotels & Resorts was created in 1996 to lead investment in the hospitality sector on behalf of CNL Financial Group, its parent group. The company, now a real estate investment trust, went on to become a developer and buyer of hotel and resort businesses.

CNL Financial Group was founded in 1973 with a $5,000 loan and has grown to be one of the largest privately owned property and financial groups in the United States, with $19 billion of assets.

Source: Timesonline