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Marriott International and Whitbread have completed the transaction to form a 50/50 joint venture company to take over Whitbread's 46 Marriott Hotels in the UK.Under the deal, which was announced it March, Marriott will take over the management of the hotels while the joint venture will sell them over the next two years. Any sale will include long term management agreements for Marriott.The hotels' operations will be integrated with Marriott's systems over the next few months.Whitbread made the decision to get out of the mid-market hotel sector in order to concentrate in its budget brand, Premier Travel Inn which is now the largest chain in the UK. The chain saw its profits leap by 47% to £109m for the year ending March 2005.
EC approves hotels sale
The European Commission has approved the sale of 73 hotels owned by the InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) to LRG Acquisition, a joint venture by Lehman Brothers Real Estate Partners and Europe Realty. LRG paid £1bn for the properties.The hotels are four Crowne Plazas, 68 Holiday Inns and one Express by Holiday Inns. They will continue to be managed by IHG which still owns the brands.* IHG has sold its Garden Court brand to the South African hotel group Southern Sun. IHG had stopped developing the brand in Europe.
Alitalia decision in June
The European Commission is expected to make a decision on Alitalia's rescue plan possibly on June 1, Stefaan de Rynck, spokesman for transport commissioner Jacques Barrot, said.The plan which includes a loan of €1.2bn for the troubled carrier from Deutsche Bank has attracted objections from airlines including BA that it also includes state aid, contrary to EC rules.