Chinese HNA Group buys US$6.5 Billion stake in Hilton Worldwide

Chinese tourism conglomerate HNA Group said it plans to buy a roughly 25% stake in Hilton Worldwide from Blackstone Group for US$6.5 billion, the latest move into American real-estate assets by a Chinese firm.

Chinese firms have been stepping up investments in hotel and travel businesses around the world as outbound tourism surges. Earlier this year, a wing of HNA acquired Carlson Hotels, which owns Radisson, Country Inns & Suites and other chains.

HNA, based in Haikou, runs hotels, airlines, airports and financial services and real estate businesses.

HNA will appoint two directors (one HNA member and one independent member) to Hilton's board of directors, bringing the total to 10 members.

Hilton had previously planned to spin off its Park Hotels & Resorts and Hilton Grand Vacations businesses.

"We believe this mutually beneficial relationship will open new opportunities for our brands and guests around the world, particularly in light of HNA's strong position in the fast-growing Chinese travel and tourism market, the largest outbound travel and tourism market in the world," said Christopher J. Nassetta, president and CEO of Hilton.

"This investment is consistent with our strategy to enhance our global tourism business, and we look forward to working together on new initiatives that leverage our respective strengths, expertise and tourism platforms to provide travelers more choice, value and world-class services," said Adam Tan, vice chairman and CEO of HNA Group.

Blackstone's stake will be reduced to about 21% following the transaction, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017.