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Sat, Oct 15, 2005 - Page 12 News List

Hilton confirms it received an offer for its hotel chain


British gambling and leisure operator Hilton Group confirmed yesterday that it received an offer for its hotels arm from Hilton Hotels Corporation, the US group from which it split some 40 years ago.

"The board confirms that it has received an indicative offer from Hilton Hotels Corporation [HHC], which it is currently evaluating," Hilton said in an official statement to the London Stock Exchange.

In reaction, the share price of Hilton rocketed 13.9 percent to £3.4725 in early morning London trade, while the capital's FTSE 100 index of leading shares eased 0.05 percent to 5,262.50 points.

The announcement followed a Financial Times report claiming that Hilton was in advanced talks to sell the division to the US firm for £3.6 billion pounds (US$6.3 billion).

Such a deal would reunite the two companies that separated in 1964.

"Discussions are ongoing and subject to the resolution of a number of issues," the statement added. "Consequently, there can be no certainty that a sale of Hilton International will take place."

Another announcement would be made in due course, Hilton said. The transaction would also see Hilton split from the bookmaker Ladbrokes, which it owns, the Financial Times said, without citing sources.

"The deal would reunite the two Hilton companies, creating an international hotel group operating under one of the best known global hospitality brands," the business daily said, adding that HHC was doing due diligence.

According to the report, Hilton shareholders would receive money and still hold shares in Ladbrokes -- Britain's biggest bookmaker.

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