Hilton's IPO trumps peers

SARAH SKIDMORE SELL
Last updated 10:37 13/12/2013

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Hilton Worldwide Holdings shares jumped in initial trading on Thursday as the company returns to the market in the largest hotel IPO ever.

The hotelier was taken private in 2007 by the Blackstone Group.

It returned as a publicly traded company Thursday, raising US$2.35 billion ($2.84b) in its offering of 117.6 million shares at US$20 each.

That tops the total payoff of US$2.1b generated by Twitter's IPO last month.

Hilton shares rose US$1.62, or 8.1 per cent, to US$21.62 in midday trading after rising as high as US$21.91 earlier.

Hilton is the world's largest hotel group with 665,667 rooms across 90 countries and territories.

It operates luxury brands such as the Waldorf Astoria and Conrad Hotels & Resorts but has built much of its recent growth on franchise deals.

Investor demand for IPOs has been strong recently. Hilton's offering has trumped those of its peers.

The next biggest was Hyatt Hotels' US$1.1b offering in 2009, according to Dealogic.

Hilton's market capitalisation of about US$20b is well above that of other hoteliers following the offering.

Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide each have market capitalisations of US$13.8b as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

Blackstone is not selling any shares in the IPO, and will continue to hold majority voting power in the company.

Hilton, based in McLean, Virginia, plans to use the proceeds from the offering to pay back debt.

Hilton said it is selling 64.1 million shares and a stockholder is offering 53.5 million shares.

The underwriters also have been given an option to buy an additional 17.6 million shares at the US$20 offering price to cover additional demand.

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- AP

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