Jurys Inn chain sold to Irish firm

LONDON (Reuters) - Irish real estate investment firm Quinlan Private agreed to buy the 20 Jurys Inn budget hotels on Saturday for 1.165 billion euros (792.6 million pounds) cash, paying one of the highest premiums for such a chain in recent history.

The three-star chain already has plans to expand in Britain from 14 UK-based city centre hotels and six in Ireland, and is targeting further growth in continental Europe.

Advised by Merrill Lynch, Jurys Inn fetched 18.6 times 2006 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of about 63 million euros, an offer that propelled Quinlan just ahead of rival Irish investment firm Lydian Capital Partners and leisure group Whitbread Plc WTB.L.

By comparison, Whitbread paid about 11 times historical EBITDA when it bought the Premier Lodge budget hotels in 2004.

Dublin-based Jurys Doyle, which was taken private in 2005 by four founding families, put the Jurys Inn chain up for sale earlier this year after a decision to focus on its luxury hotels. It initially attracted dozens of suitors.

Property developer Derek Quinlan’s investment firm already owns the Claridge’s and Connaught hotels in London and at one time owned the renowned Savoy. He also recently bought 47 UK Marriott hotels with a partner for about 1.1 billion pounds.

“Quinlan Private’s track record of managing hotel assets for investors and our investment expertise in Western, Central and Eastern Europe will also be key in rolling out the Jurys Inn product in those markets,” Quinlan Private Chief Executive Olan Cremin said.

The Jurys Doyle group management team, led by Niall Geoghegan, is leaving to stay with the Jurys Inn chain.

Quinlan received financial advice from Perella Weinberg Partners while Anglo Irish Bank is helping arrange the debt.

($1=.7449 Euro)

$1=.5060 Pound