Hilton announces agreement with AJ Capital to acquire Graduate Hotels

Hilton has announced an agreement with Adventurous Journeys Capital Partners (“AJ Capital”) to acquire the Graduate Hotels brand.

Graduate Knoxville Lobby Photo Credit Graduate Hotels copy

Hilton will pay $210 million to acquire all rights to the Graduate brand worldwide, enter into franchise agreements for all existing and signed pipeline Graduate Hotels, and become responsible for the brand’s future development and growth.

AJ Capital will remain the owner of the more than 35 operating and pipeline Graduate properties, each of which will be operated under long-term Hilton franchise agreements.

The transaction, which is expected to close in the second quarter, subject to customary closing conditions including review and approval pursuant to Hart-Scott-Rodino, will be immediately accretive to Hilton. The company expects the fee contribution for the first full year of ownership to be approximately $16 million.

“Adding Graduate Hotels to our portfolio of award-winning brands accelerates our expansion in the lifestyle space by pairing an existing much-loved brand with the power of Hilton’s strong commercial engine to drive growth,” says Chris Nassetta, president and CEO, Hilton. “We have long had a high bar for adding brands to our portfolio, whether organically or through acquisition, and Graduate will be another driver of growth for us, presenting a unique opportunity to serve more guests in more sought-after destinations. With thousands of colleges and universities around the world, we believe the addressable market for the Graduate brand is 400-500 hotels globally.”

Each Graduate hotel—steeped in local history, charm and nostalgia—is thoughtfully designed to reflect the unique character of its local university, offering the perfect setting for game days, reunions, graduations, campus visits and more. Since its inception in 2014, the brand has grown to span the United States and the United Kingdom, including locations in Ann Arbor, Mich., Knoxville, Tenn., Palo Alto, Calif., State College, Pa.; and Oxford and Cambridge, United Kingdom, with new hotels opening soon in Austin and Dallas, Texas; Auburn, Ala.; and Princeton, N.J.

Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. is AJ Capital’s sole financial advisor on this transaction.

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