JER to take hotel chain private

The Virginia-based firm has agreed to buy limited-service operator Jameson Inns for $371m, gaining a bigger foothold in the hotel sector in the Southeast and Midwest.

JER Partners has acquired Jameson Inns in a deal valued at approximately $371 million (€290 million), through a joint venture with Atlanta-based Longhouse Hospitality, strengthening its presence in the hotel sector in the Southeast and the Midwest.

McLean, Virginia-based JER paid $2.97 per share for Atlanta-based Jameson, which owns 107 primarily limited-service hotels with a total of 7,550 rooms. Shareholders approved the deal July 26, according to a prepared statement from JER.

“The Jameson portfolio represents a tremendous opportunity for JER and Longhouse to leverage off our existing platform to capture ownership and management synergies across both portfolios,” Cia Buckley, president of JER’s US funds business, said in a statement. “This acquisition highlights JER’s commitment to future growth through the Longhouse platform.”

Longhouse, into which JER pumped $75 million in 2005, also operates 44 extended-stay and limited service properties across 11 states under the Sun Suites, Crestwood Suites and Lodge America brands. The Jameson portfolio more than triples the number of hotels held by Longhouse.

We do expect to acquire other assets and fold them into the Jameson brand.

Alex Gilbert, principal, JER Partners

As gas prices rise and corporate travel managers take notice, the significant pace of expansion in the extended-stay sector continues to far outstrip growth in the hotel industry as a whole, prompting many to invest in renovations and or upgrades to their properties.

Other hotel heavyweights are beefing up their extended-stay offerings. Starwood Hotels and Resorts recently announced that it will pull elements from its upscale Westin hotels and incorporate them into its own brand of extended-stay properties, while Hyatt purchased the upscale Summerfield Suites brand.

Private equity giant The Blackstone Group added to its extended-stay hotel holdings when it bought national chain Extended Stay America for nearly $2 billion in mid-2004.

The Jameson name will remain on the properties, according to Alex Gilbert, a principal for fund investment management at JER.

“In fact, we do expect to acquire other assets and fold them into the Jameson brand,” Gilbert said, adding that JER and Longhouse are looking at additional limited-service and extended-stay properties in both the South and the Midwest.

The Park Management Group, a Longhouse subsidiary in which JER holds a controlling interest, will take over management of the Jameson properties.