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Dublin: 4 °C Saturday 14 December, 2019

Ireland's biggest hotel owner wants to buy this... and another 9 hotels, thanks

Properties in Dublin, Cork and the UK are all part of a potential €450 million sale.

Bewley's Hotel in Ballsbridge
Bewley's Hotel in Ballsbridge

IRELAND’S BIGGEST HOTELIER is in talks about buying out a rival chain in a move which would add 10 more properties to its fast-growing portfolio.

The Dalata Hotel Group confirmed today it was in “exclusive discussions” about buying the Moran & Bewley’s Hotel Group, which owns hotels in both the UK and Ireland.

Agents have put an estimated €450 million pricetag on the smaller hotel group, whose venues include the four-star Bewley’s Hotel in Ballsbridge, which fills a huge Victorian-era building near the RDS.

The portfolio also includes, among others:

  • Red Cow Moran Hotel, Dublin 22
  • Silver Springs Moran Hotel, Cork
  • Bewley’s Hotel, Dublin Airport
  • Bewley’s Hotel Leopardstown, Dublin 18

In a statement today, Dalata said: “There can be no certainty at this time that a transaction will procees and we will update shareholders in due course”.

Two rival bidders, US-based funds Starwood Capital Group and Marathon Asset Management, have previously been earmarked as in the final running to buy the hotel group.

Buyout would be a “coup” for cashed-up Dalata

The Moran & Bewley’s group was formed in 2008 when Limerick businessman Tom Moran bought the Bewley’s chain after starting out in 1988 with his purchase of Dublin’s Red Cow Inn.

Dalata recently bought two four-star hotels in Galway and Wexford for €31.7 million with some of the funds it raised during its €265 million stock market float.

It currently operates 38 hotels with almost 6,000 bedrooms, but the Moran & Bewley’s buyout would mean it had taken over its first properties outside Ireland, except for the Maldron Hotel it already runs in Wales.

Goodbody analyst Colm Foley said if Dalata pulled off the deal it would be a “significant coup” for the hotel company given the strong competition from other bidders for the smaller firm.

“This deal would bring Dalata to full investment, including leverage, and we believe could see the company return to the market to raise further capital,” he said.

READ: Ireland’s biggest hotelier buys two landmark properties in Galway and Wexford >

READ: Hotel sales could hit €1 billion by the end of this year >

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About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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