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Hyatt could use cash for acquisitions: CEO

By Reuters

Hyatt Hotels Corp may deploy its cash to buy individual hotels, portfolios or even whole brands, particularly in gateway cities in North America and Europe, said the CEO of the newly-public company.

Possible acquisition targets could range upper-upscale hotels like its Park Hyatt and Hyatt Regency brands to select service properties such as Hyatt Place Hotels, Chief Executive Mark Hoplamazian said in New York.

"We believe there are opportunities to acquire hotels, groups of hotels, portfolios or brands – if that makes sense," he said during an opening event for the company's latest hotel Andaz on Wall Street. Hoplamazian described Hyatt as a "wonderful brand", but one that is "underpenetrated anywhere we operate". Buying hotels would give Hyatt the opportunity to boost its presence.

According to regulatory filings, Hyatt has about $1.3 billion (Dh4.77bn) in cash and cash equivalents as of September 30. The company owns 96 of the 415 hotels it operates – or 23 per cent of its properties.

Hyatt's strategy of owning a large number of its hotels sets it apart from rivals Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts, which have been shedding hotels over the last few years to shift focus to managing and franchising properties.


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