Accor Closes The FRHI Purchase (Raffles, Fairmont & Swissotel Hotels)

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Accor had a shareholder meeting today that approved the purchase of FRHI that consists of Raffles, Fairmont and Swissotel brands which currently have 114 hotels open.

Accor Raffles Fairmont Swissotel

Qatari Investment Authority and Kingdom Holding (Saudi Arabia) contributed $840 million in cash + FRHI shares for combined 16.2% ownership of Accor.

Le Club AccorHotels already has these brands up on their website here.

You can access Accor’s statement here of which you can find below:

Following the approval of shareholders at the General Shareholders Meeting on July 12, 2016, AccorHotels Group officially announces the acquisition of FRHI Hotels & Resorts (FRHI) and its three prestigious luxury hotel brands: Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel. This addition of three remarkable brands instantly positions AccorHotels as a leading player in the global luxury hotel market, increases long term growth potential and profitability, and significantly expands the company’s footprint in North America, the world’s largest and most influential consumer market.

“Today is a great day for our Group. The acquisition of these three emblematic luxury hotel brands is a historical milestone for AccorHotels. It will open up amazing growth prospects, lift our international presence to unprecedented heights, and build value over the long term,” says Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AccorHotels.

Joining AccorHotels’ global network is a portfolio of globally admired brands, which includes management of many of the world’s most iconic and historic hotels located in key strategic cities around the world, including: The Savoy in London, Raffles Singapore, Fairmont San Francisco, New York’s The Plaza, Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City, and Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris.

Combining FRHI’s proven track record and deep expertise in operating and marketing luxury hotels, with AccorHotels robust global operating platform, extensive loyalty base and industry leading digital capabilities, means the Group is uniquely positioned to deliver the most profitable returns and best growth potential across all market segments.

“We remain committed to providing guests with unparalleled service, while also keeping the ambition to deliver exceptional return on investment for our shareholders and hotel owners,” added Bazin. “By leveraging the operational synergies between FRHI and AccorHotels, we are well-positioned to accelerate the growth of our luxury brands and offer guests even more exciting hotel choices and destinations to explore.”

Chris Cahill appointed as the Group’s CEO Luxury Brands

In support of the acquisition, and as part of AccorHotels’ larger strategy to strengthen its luxury and upscale business, the company has appointed Chris Cahill as the Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Luxury Brands. In this newly created role, Chris, who will also become a member of AccorHotels’ Executive Committee, will lead the FRHI integration process and be responsible for the strategy and global operations of AccorHotels Luxury Brands. This new structure will include Raffles, Fairmont, Sofitel Legend, So Sofitel, Sofitel, MGallery by Sofitel, Pullman and Swissôtel.

Chris is an experienced hotelier who has led several successful integrations, is familiar with multi-brand management and brings an extensive background in luxury operations, sales and marketing. With more than 30 years of hospitality industry experience, including 19 years working with FRHI and its predecessor companies, Chris is ideally positioned to lead the integration of the Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel brands into the AccorHotels portfolio, and will ensure AccorHotels’ luxury brands grow and prosper. He most recently served as Executive Vice President Global Operations at Las Vegas Sands Corp.

Closing Details

Following the approval of shareholders at the General Shareholders Meeting on July 12, 2016, the transaction with Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) of Saudi Arabia provided $840 million (€768 million) cash payment and the issuance of 46.7 million AccorHotels shares in consideration for the contributed FRHI shares. The transaction gives QIA and KHC respective stakes of 10.4% and 5.8% in Accor’s share capital. Ali Bouzarif and Aziz Aluthman Fakhroo from QIA and Sarmad Zok from KHC will now join AccorHotels’ Board of Directors.

AccorHotels plans to generate approximately €65 million in revenue and cost synergies thanks to the combination of brands, the maximization of hotel earnings, the increased efficiency of marketing, sales and distribution channel initiatives, and the optimization of support costs. Significant enhancements will also be made in terms of customer data, thanks to the integration of FRHI’s customer base that includes three million loyalty members, of which 75 percent are in North America.

The vast majority of Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel’s 154 hotels and resorts (of which 40 are under development) and 56,000 rooms spanning 34 countries and five continents are operated under long-term management contracts, with an average term of nearly 30 years; six hotels are leased and one hotel is owned. The Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel brands employ more than 45,000 colleagues worldwide.

Conclusion

I certainly hope that Accor’s implementation of these three brands will work out. Personally I don’t agree Accor’s assessment that they have “industry leading digital capabilities”.

They plan to save 65 million euros yearly due to synergies. That is 500,000 euros per property. I hope that they keep the Fairmont’s customer service personnel that are good at fixing issues when you call them.

This certainly opens up new opportunities for Le Club AccorHotels members once these brands and hotels are implemented on Accor’s platform including the loyalty program. If previous hotel purchases are any indication, I would not except drastic changes to Fairmont’s program before 2018 (at least I hope so).

It is also interesting to see what happens to those Fairmont Presidents Club lifetime members that receive free night, suite and room upgrade certificates, F&B and other coupons yearly. Le Club AccorHotels doesn’t currently offer anything similar.

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