Bad books on writing and thoughtless English professors solemnly tell beginners to ‘Write What You Know‘, which explains why so many mediocre novels are about English professors contemplating adultery.” — Joe Haldeman
The owner of Hotel du Vin and Malmaison, two of Britain’s biggest boutique hotel chains, is preparing to put the business up for sale two years after its former parent collapsed into administration.
Sky News has learnt that KSL Capital Partners, a private equity firm based in Denver, Colorado, has appointed the investment bank UBS to conduct a full review of strategic options for Malmaison Group.
The review is expected to lead to a formal auction of the two hotel brands, which between them operate from nearly 30 sites across the UK, although a sale process has yet to get under way.
Hotel du Vin and Malmaison were previously owned by MWB Group, which fell into administration in November 2012.
The hotels, which had been beset by poor financial discipline, installed Gary Davis, an experienced industry executive, as their new chief executive in 2012, since when sales and profit have each grown substantially.
Malmaison Group, which employs approximately 3,000 people, has just acquired the historic Cannizaro House in southwest London, and will invest £1m in renovating the property before reopening it under the Hotel du Vin brand.
Other sites, including Great Scotland Yard in Central London, are also in the process of being acquired, underlining the growth ambitions of the company’s management team.
It was unclear how large the price tag attached to the group by KSL would be, but sources said that Malmaison executives led by Mr Davis would be keen to secure a new backer with sufficient capital to fund future expansion plans.
Hotel du Vin and Malmaison have become prominent players in the hospitality sector, specialising in converting well-known local landmarks such as a former castle prison, hospital and sugar refinery, into boutique hotels.
The chains, which were founded in 1994, are likely to appeal to private equity funds and other international hotel operators, according to analysts.
KSL, which also owns The Belfry, one of the UK’s leading golf courses, is also poised to complete the purchase of the Village Urban Resorts chain in a £480m deal.
Speaking at the time of KSL’s £200m takeover in March 2013, Richard Weissmann, a partner at the firm, said of the two UK hotel brands: “At KSL, we look for unique travel and leisure businesses with strong management teams to help support and grow. Malmaison and Hotel du Vin occupy a strong position in the UK market.
“With an exceedingly loyal following, we believe each brand has tremendous potential for further growth and expansion.”
Malmaison Group and UBS declined to comment, while KSL could not be reached for comment.