The investment firms Blackstone and Starwood Capital announced Monday that they planned to acquire the hotel operator Extended Stay America for $6 billion, the latest deal premised on a post-pandemic rebound in travel.
The deal is a bet that the mid-tier hotel chain that provides guests with amenities like kitchens and laundry facilities will prosper as the U.S. economy recovers. The chain had a 74% occupancy rate last year, above the industry average, with many rooms filled by essential workers.
The company’s new owners hope those rooms will soon add more tourists and traveling professionals. Extended Stay has about 600 U.S. locations.
“Our occupancy levels across the brand now rival the pre-COVID levels,” Bruce Haase, Extended Stay’s CEO, told analysts on the company’s earnings call last month. “And unlike the rest of the industry that was still reaching for occupancy, we can now turn much of our attention to driving higher rates.”
The company’s shares have more than doubled over the past year, and the acquisition offer is a 15% premium to its closing stock price at the end of last week.
Starwood and Blackstone both have experience investing in hospitality, and Blackstone has even owned Extended Stay before — twice. It acquired the company for $3.1 billion in 2004, before selling it three years later for $8 billion. It was also part of a consortium that bought the business out of bankruptcy in 2010, outbidding a group led by Starwood Capital. Extended Stay then went public in 2013.
Other private equity firms have similarly bet on a recovery of the hospitality industry. Apollo Global Management announced plans this month to join with Vici Properties to acquire the Venetian hotel and casino in a $6.25 billion deal that also includes the Las Vegas property’s large expo center.