|Major hotel deal in the works|
| [30.08.2007, 11:45pm, Thu. GMT]|
|Norwegian Property, an Oslo-based real estate firm that's been on an enormous expansion drive the past year, has launched a bid to take over a large portfolio of hotels operated by Scandic, Choice and Rezidor in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. A successful takeover of Norgani Hotels would make Norwegian Property the largest stock-listed real estate company in all the Nordic countries, with more than 130 properties valued at nearly NOK 31 billion (about USD 5.4 billion). The 74 hotels in the Norgani portfolio are valued at NOK 10 billion, with 12 of them in Norway including the Radisson SAS Lillehammer Hotel and Quality Hotel & Resorts at Hafjell and Kristiansand. Around half of Norgani's hotels are run by Scandic, which was recently sold by Hilton to a Swedish investment group.Norgani shareholders are being offered NOK 82.50 per share, prompting stock in the hotel company to jump more than 19 percent, to NOK 81.25, on the Oslo Stock Exchange Tuesday morning.|
Norwegian Property is run by Petter Jansen, who until last year headed airline SAS' Norwegian operations. It lately has been building up a large portfolio of commercial properties, mostly office buildings, with a stated ambition of "industrializing and professionalizing the real estate branch."
Jansen said Tuesday that he hopes to "position Norwegian Property as the gateway to the Nordic real estate market." He called an acquisition of Norgani "an important first step in consolidation of the branch, and it will strengthen the basis for the company's further growth in Norway and the Nordic countries."
The surprise offer for Norgani has already been accepted by 60 percent of Norgani's shareholders, and will be financed by a loan of NOK 1.7 billion and stock issues.
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