Playa buying five Jamaica resorts for $300 million

The Jewel Grande Palmyra.
The Jewel Grande Palmyra.

Playa Hotels & Resorts has agreed to buy five Jamaica resorts from Sagicor Group Jamaica for about $300 million in cash and stock.

Playa is buying four Jewel-branded resorts and the 489-room Hilton Rose Hall.

The Jewel properties are the 268-room Jewel Runaway Bay, 250-room Jewel Dunn's River, 225-room Jewel Paradise Cove and 88-room Jewel Grande Palmyra. Playa will also acquire land at the Jewel Grande Palmyra with rights to build another 700 rooms there.

Playa will operate the Jamaica resorts, too. The resorts are currently operated by Aimbridge Hospitality.

With the acquisition, Playa will boost its resort count on Jamaica to seven. It also owns and operates the Hyatt Ziva and Hyatt Zilara all-inclusives on the island.

Founded in 2006, Playa continues to expand its Caribbean presence since going public last year. The company in 2013 reached an agreement with Hyatt to rebrand six resorts under the Ziva and Zilara brands.

Last year, Playa agreed to operate resorts under the Panama Jack brand, and then rebranded Cancun's Gran Caribe and Playa del Carmen's Gran Porto as Panama Jack resorts.

With the latest acquisition, Playa plans to expand the Panama Jack brand, said Playa chief marketing officer Kevin Froemming. Specifically, Playa will rebrand "one or two" of the Jewel properties as Panama Jack resorts, though he didn't set a time frame.

Additionally, Froemming said Playa is considering combining the Hyatt Zilara and Hyatt Ziva resorts into a single Hyatt Zilara property, then use one of the beachfront plots acquired from Sagicor to build a new Hyatt Ziva resort.

Playa will pay Sagicor $100 million in cash and 20 million Playa shares, which as of Tuesday were trading at about $10 each. Playa will nominate two Sagicor executives to its board of directors.

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