Morgan Stanley acquires CNL for $6.6bn

The real estate arm of global investment bank Morgan Stanley has acquired CNL Hotels and Resorts, the second-largest hospitality REIT in the US, for $6.6bn.

Morgan Stanley Real Estate is acquiring most of CNL Hotels and Resorts for $6.6 billion (€5.1 billion) including debt. As part of the transaction, CNL will sell 51 of its properties to Ashford Hospitality Trust, a Dallas hotel REIT, for $2.4 billion.

Morgan Stanley is paying $20.50 per share of the private hospitality REIT, the second largest of its type in the US, and will acquire the company’s landmark golf and resort properties.

“This acquisition is a unique opportunity to acquire eight top-quality resort properties diversified across key U.S. travel destinations,” Michael Franco, managing director at Morgan Stanley Real Estate, said in a statement. “We believe that these types of luxury hotels are extremely hard to replicate and will exhibit excellent future growth from increased corporate group travel and leisure travelers seeking a one-of-a-kind experience.”

The portfolio is comprised of eight properties in six locations, including the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa in Maui, Hawaii; the La Quinta Resort & Club and PGA West in La Quinta, California; and the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix.

This past December, CNL sold 32 assets to the Whitehall fund for $405 million. Last September, Morgan Stanley closed its fifth US-focused property vehicle on $1.8 billion and a special situations vehicle on $2.2 billion.