The week ahead: December 9-15

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A look at what’s coming up on the East Coast and around the world. This week, that includes an IPO by Hilton, the release of quarterly economic data and the auction of some royal artifacts. It also includes remembrance of the Sandy Hook shootings.

(Reuters) – Hilton Worldwide Inc said its initial public offering would raise up to $2.37 billion in the biggest-ever hotel IPO, more than doubling Blackstone Group LP’s investment.

According to reports last week, Hilton is expected to launch its initial public offering this month and the sale of about 11.5 percent of its shares would value the company at up to $32.5 billion, including debt.

Blackstone took Hilton private in 2007 for $26.7 billion, including debt, in one of the largest leveraged buyouts before the 2008 global financial crisis.

Blackstone has invested in total about $6.4 billion in Hilton and its 76.2 percent stake after the IPO would be worth up to $15.7 billion.

Its private equity and real estate funds, which provided the equity for the leveraged buyout in 2007, are not selling any shares in the IPO. A Blackstone debt fund has registered to sell Hilton shares in the IPO equivalent to a roughly 0.5 percent stake, according to a regulatory filing.

“The Blackstone Group has timed the Hilton IPO at the perfect market inflection points of increasing global consumer travel demand, daily room rates, and occupancy,” said Christopher Muller, a professor at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration, speaking last week.

The U.S. hotel industry has been recovering with room rates and occupancy levels expected to increase in 2014, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. The Dow Jones U.S. Hotels index has risen 30 percent so far this year.

Hilton’s IPO will be the second-biggest IPO in 2013, behind oil pipeline holding company Plains GP Holdings LP , which raised $2.82 billion.

Continue reading December 2 Reuters story

(Additional editing by Baltimore Sun staff)