US private equity firm Lone Star Funds has bought Irish hotel chain Jurys Inn for a whopping $910 million (£680 million). The sale is expected to close within two months, after approval by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission in Ireland.
The chain, which has five hotels in Ireland, one in Prague, four in London and 21 more around the UK, was owned by an investment syndicate consisting of the Royal Bank of Scotland (Ulster Bank), Oman Investment Fund, Mount Kellett Capital Management, Westmont Hospitality Group and Avestus Capital Partners.
William Jury opened his first boarding house in Dublin in 1881, and by 1993 the Jurys Inn brand began to grow across the rest of Ireland and the UK. Now, the chain employs 2,000 people and has 7,000 rooms across 31 cities.
Lone Star Funds invests in “distressed assets” in the US and internationally. Less than two years ago, Jurys Inn was “burdened by excessive debt and faced an uncertain future,” said Nick Weber of Mount Kellett Capital Management.
But after a significant debt restructuring, it has since been transformed into “one of the leading mid-market hotel groups in the UK and Ireland.” Oman Investment Fund CEO Hassan Al Nabhani said the debt restructuring was key to Jurys Inn's revival.
“We are delighted to see that a combination of new capital and active management of the business has resulted in a successful turnaround and growth story,” said John Davison, Global head of the Strategic Investment Group at the Royal Bank of Scotland.
“We appreciate the efforts of the management team, the employees and our fellow shareholders and lenders in being able to deliver this very positive outcome.” He said that the entire syndicate is “very pleased” with the sale.
Lone Star will take over the remaining loans from the group, and the sale will see taxpayer-backed Royal Bank of Scotland recoup some of the debts it was owed.
The Royal Bank of Scotland became a shareholder and lender to Jurys Inn in 2012 when its debt pile was at its highest, “to support the business when it was most needed,” Davison said.
Jurys Inn CEO said that Lone Star is “very committed to the future growth and development” of the business.
“We look forward to working with them in realizing our joint ambition for the business and to capitalize on the significant opportunities emerging within our sector,” he stated.