From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:
- Pebblebrook makes final offer to merge with LaSalle
- Marriott partners with Hostmaker for Tribute Portfolio Homes
- How hotel investors can benefit from US tax reform
- HNA Group seeks $1.5b in new global acquisition fund
- Debate over short-term rentals in Boston heats up
Pebblebrook makes final offer to merge with LaSalle: Pebblebrook Hotel Trust released another letter it sent to LaSalle Hotel Properties detailing its final merger offer, increasing its per-share price by $2.49 compared to the original offer and upping its cash option to 20%, according to a news release. The letter states Pebblebrook executives have not heard a response from LaSalle’s board of directors following Pebblebrook’s previous increased offer on 13 April.
“We understand that you may be evaluating other offers which may be at prices lower than ours,” writes Jon Bortz, chairman, president and CEO of Pebblebrook. “Before entering into an agreement to accept any such offer accompanied by a break-up fee, potentially depriving shareholders of a higher-value transaction, we urge you to consider our proposal and engage in discussions with us.”
Hedge fund HG Vora Capital Management increased its ownership stake in LaSalle from 7.1% to 8.2%, Reuters reports. The company, which as of 2 April was the third-largest shareholder in LaSalle, urged LaSalle to negotiate with Pebblebrook for a better offer because it believed the sale of the company would maximize value for shareholders.
Marriott partners with Hostmaker for Tribute Portfolio Homes: Marriott International has launched a six-month trial of a home-rental program called Tribute Portfolio Homes, according to information provided by a Marriott spokesperson. It has partnered with United Kingdom-based home-rental management company Hostmaker for this trial program that includes 212 London-area homes available for rent.
Marriott and Hostmaker will work together to select each property based on design standards. Hostmaker will also be responsible for making sure the property complies with London’s short-term rental laws and overseeing safety and security of the properties.
Each home will have at least one bedroom as well as a full kitchen and in-unit laundry facilities. Guests will pay for their stay at the time of booking. Marriott loyalty members can earn points during their stay and, starting in May, will be able to redeem their points through the program as well.
How hotel investors can benefit from U.S. tax reform: A panel of real estate tax-law experts in a webinar hosted by law firm Marcus & Millichap shared how commercial real estate investors—including those with hotels—can take advantage of the new tax law, writes HNN’s Sean McCracken.
Investors can realize the benefit of expanded “bonus depreciation,” which means they can claim 100% of bonus depreciation on acquisitions of existing assets instead of just new-builds. Dirk Wallace, partner with Novogradac & Company, said there are new options for claiming depreciation or prioritizing interest limitation, so investors need to decide which helps them the most.
“A lot of thought and analysis should go into this determination,” he said.
HNA Group seeks $1.5b in new global acquisition fund: China’s HNA Group seeks to raise $1.5 billion by the end of 2018 in an investment fund for acquisitions around the world, Reuters reports. HNA will use its Overseas Aviation and Tourism Industry Fund to purchase travel, aviation and real estate assets.
Previously, the company has opted for direct acquisitions, which led to increasing levels of debt, the article states. As a result, the company has been in the news for selling a number of its assets and stakes in various hospitality companies after Chinese regulators increased pressure on companies making foreign investments.
Debate over short-term rentals in Boston heats up: Boston City Council has been considering regulations on short-term home rentals, but a conflict between one council member and Airbnb has turned a once civil debate into something uglier.
Airbnb sent out an email to its customers in the Boston area “blasting” the council member, accusing her of being aligned with the hotel industry.
“Even in the sharp-elbowed world of Boston politics, public attacks by an out-of-town company on a city councilor are rare,” the article states.
On one side of the debate are neighborhood groups, housing activists and members of hotel workers unions seeking tighter regulations. On the other is Airbnb and a group of hosts worrying regulations will hurt their rental operations.
Compiled by Bryan Wroten.