BERLIN -- Carlson
Hotels Worldwide will acquire a 25% interest in its European
franchisee, Rezidor SAS Hospitality, pending regulatory approval.
Worldwide Executive Vice President Bjorn Gullaksen put it this way:
On their 11th anniversary, Rezidor and Carlson decided to get
As part of the
shareholder agreement, Carlson will obtain the equity from Rezidors
parent, SAS Group, in return for renegotiated commercial terms of
the parties current master franchise agreement. The deal, which
extends that agreement by 20 years to 2052, is expected to close in
the first half of the year.
manages several Carlson brands in Europe, the Middle East and
Africa, including Radisson (as Radisson SAS), Park Inn, Regent
International Hotels and Country Inns & Suites.
Excluded are the
Park Plaza and the Radisson Edwardian London. Likewise, the Rezidor
brand Cerruti is not included in the agreement.
The new arrangement
precludes Rezidor from managing other hospitality companies brands
and bars Carlson from using other management companies for the four
brands covered by the agreement. But each is free to develop other
between Rezidor and Carlson has had its ups and downs. In 2001,
when Rezidor CEO Kurt Ritter told Travel Weekly that he was going
to open some three-star properties, he said he was negotiating with
two potential U.S. partners, and pointedly added, I can tell you
this: It wont be [with] Radisson.
A year later,
Ritter signed a 10-year pact that added three Carlson brands in
addition to Radisson. That pact was subsequently extended to
When the companies
signed their first agreement in 1994, there were 29 hotels in the
group. Today there are 245 open or under development in 47
countries. The companies success necessitated a reformulation of
arrangements, Ritter told TravelWeekly.com at the ITB conference in
From the beginning,
the deal didnt have a vision to match how the product was going to
develop, he said. We became too big too quickly, and things became
out of balance.
Ritter said that,
since 2001, he has been pleased with his relationship with Carlson
and hopes the new agreement will kill the rumors from
Ritter would not
say whether Rezidor SAS Hospitality received cash as part of the
agreement, but he said cash was not the motivator. The companies
have said they plan to grow the portfolio to 700 hotels by
As for Carlsons
motivation, a spokesman acknowledged that there were several
reasons driving the decision, some of them strategic. What if they
sold to somebody evil? said Tom Polski, Carlson Hospitality
Worldwides vice president.
He also said the
old relationship was not appropriate for the current situation. The
size of our relationship, with this many hotels, was simply out of
proportion [with the terms of the old arrangement].
Polski said Carlson
hopes to develop brands with Rezidor, including a lifestyle
Editor-in-Chief Arnie Weissmann, send e-mail to [email protected].