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US buyer is close to €70m deal for Burlo

THE Burlington Hotel will have new American owners before Christmas.

A huge US private equity firm is expected to buy the four-star hotel for a "knockdown" price of around €70m.

The price is a long way from the €288m developer Bernard McNamara paid for the iconic hotel in 2007.

The 500-bed hotel, Ireland's second biggest after Citywest in Dublin, had been put on the market by receiver Paul McCann of accountancy firm Grant Thornton.



Refurbishing

Now the Blackstone Group is reported to be the frontrunner to buy the hotel, which has continued to trade successfully despite being in receivership.

The Group is understood to have bid close to €70m for the Burlington, and if it completes the deal, is expected to spend more than €12m refurbishing and rebranding the hotel.

The "Burlo" has extensive conference and banqueting facilities and is likely to trade as part of the Hilton Group.

Blackstone acquired the Hilton Worldwide hotels empire five years ago for $26bn. The Burlington could be upgraded and rebranded as a five-star Waldorf Astoria hotel or as one of a number of other brands, including Conrad, Hilton, Doubletree or Hampton.

Although sales contracts are not due to be completed until the end of the month, several international groups who bid for the hotel have been informed recently that they have been unsuccessful.

The hotel made profits of more than €5m last year when the room occupancy rate was running at 70-75pc. Selling agents CBRE had expected it to fetch €65m-€75m.

mlavery@herald.ie


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