Hotels Report: Carlson exploring strategic alternatives for hotel business By Danny King / January 22, 2016 Share 1 -- Carlson is exploring strategic alternatives for its hotel business, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the process. Options include a merger, sale or partnership, the newspaper said.The hotel division is operated by Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, a partnership between Carlson and Rezidor Hotel Group. The partners oversee the Radisson, Radisson Blu, Radisson Red, Country Inns & Suites, Park Inn, Park Plaza and Quorvus Collection brands. The Carlson Rezidor portfolio includes more than 1,100 hotels.Closely held Carlson has hired Morgan Stanley to explore strategic alternatives. Carlson declined to comment when contacted by Travel Weekly.Carlson, which also owns the Carlson Wagonlit Travel corporate travel agency, has been in the hotel industry since 1960, when it acquired a 50% stake in the Radisson hotel in downtown Minneapolis (the first Radisson ever built, in 1909). That hotel is now a Radisson Blu.Carlson and Rezidor's predecessor company, SAS International Hotels, formed a partnership in 1986. In 1994, SAS International Hotels inked a deal to operate Radisson-branded hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. SAS was renamed Rezidor Hotel Group in 2002.Carlson started investing in Rezidor in 2005, when it acquired a 25% stake in the company. Carlson increased its Rezidor ownership to 51% in 2012, and the companies began operating under the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group name.Carlson was split into travel and hospitality divisions after last year’s retirement of CEO Trudy Rautio. David Berg is the CEO of Carlson Hospitality Group, and Douglas Anderson is Carlson Wagonlit Travel's CEO.