By Olivia Oran
Dec 12 Shares of Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc
, the world's largest hotel operator, rose more than 9
percent in afteroon trading during their New York Stock Exchange
debut on Thursday.
The stock climbed as high as $21.92 after Blackstone Group
LP raised more than $2.3 billion in the year's
The shares were priced at $20 Wednesday night, within the
expected range of $18 to $21. Hilton and existing shareholders
sold 117.6 million shares in the IPO.
Blackstone took Hilton private in 2007 for $26.7 billion,
including debt, in one of the largest leveraged buyouts before
the 2008 global financial crisis.
Founded in 1919 by Conrad Hilton, Hilton's brands include
such high-end names as Conrad and Waldorf Astoria.
Hilton, which operates in 90 countries, has more than 4,000
hotels and 670,000 rooms under its umbrella.
The company itself owns or leases 157 hotels, including the
Waldorf Astoria in New York and the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
The U.S. hotel industry has been recovering, with room rates
and occupancy levels expected to increase in 2014, according to
PricewaterhouseCoopers. The Dow Jones U.S. Hotels index has
risen nearly 30 percent so far this year.
The hotel sector "is a very attractive sector to be in as
the fundamentals are very strong in the U.S. and you have a real
expansion story in the emerging markets," said Ryan Meliker,
senior analyst at investment bank MLV & Co.
Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs, Bank of
America and Morgan Stanley led the IPO.