Värde buys Boscolo Hotels for over €450m – Exclusive

The deal follows the investment manager’s acquisition of 90% of Gruppo Boscolo’s debt, a process it began via the secondaries market in mid-2016. 

Varde Partners, the Minneapolis-based alternatives investment manager, has acquired Gruppo Boscolo, the luxury Italian hotel group in a deal valued in excess of €450 million.

The transaction follows Värde’s acquisition of more than 90 percent of the company's outstanding debt from its original lenders via nine separate transactions. The original lending group advanced more than €350 million to finance the groups’ operations and included more than 20 domestic and foreign financial institutions.

Thursday’s equity acquisition concludes Värde’s takeover of the company. The investment manager began acquiring Gruppo Boscolo’s debt via the secondaries market in mid-2016, following multiple attempted restructurings of the company.

Gruppo Boscolo will continue to manage nine hotels, which in total comprise 1,300 rooms, and are located in Rome, Florence, Milan, Venice, Nice, Budapest and Prague. As part of the transaction, the Boscolo family will retain Boscolo Tours, a domestic tour operator and Hotel Airone, a 97-room hotel in Chioggia, near Venice.

“The acquisition we closed today demonstrates the value of patience coupled with creative sourcing strategies and quality execution in complex distressed situations,” said Francisco Milone, senior managing director of Värde. “We spent over six months acquiring the debt from local financial institutions and another three negotiating the acquisition of the equity from the Boscolo family.”

“The assets we acquired today are unique in terms of both their leading position in key tourist-driven cities and their potential for strong operating performance going forward,” said Luca Malighetti, managing director in Värde’s Milan office. “We intend to support that performance with additional capital and strong management. Fixing the balance sheet has provided a clear path to growth.”

Boscolo Hotels was founded in 1978 and has been controlled by the Boscolo family for close to four decades.

Värde was advised by Ernst and Young, Gianni, Origoni, Grippo, Cappelli & Partners, Orrick and Ludovici Piccone & Partners.

Värde Partners is a $12 billion global alternative investment firm that employs a credit-oriented, value-based approach to investing. The firm employs 250 people with offices in Minneapolis, London and Singapore.