November 20, 2017 / 9:33 AM / 2 years ago

Spanish hotels company Barcelo offers to buy NH Hotel Group

Nov 20 (Reuters) - NH Hotel Group confirmed on Monday it had received a possible takeover offer from rival Spanish hotel group Grupo Barcelo in a deal that could create the biggest hotel group in Spain.

Grupo Barcelo, which has over 230 hotels in 21 countries, proposed having a 60 percent in the shared group and a majority on the board in the unsolicited non-binding expression of interest, NH said in a statement to the Spanish stock exchange.

Privately-owned Barcelo declined to comment on Monday. The stock exchange suspended trading in NH shortly before the statement. At its current share price of 5 euros per share, NH has a market value of 1.75 billion euros ($2 billion).

NH, whose biggest shareholder is China’s HNA, said in the statement it had recently approved an independent three-year strategic plan which was still in place.

Any decision to change that course would be announced to the stock exchange, the company - which operates nearly 400 hotels in 31 markets worldwide - said in a statement.

NH voted last year to oust one of its co-chairman and three other board members appointed by HNA over a potential conflict of interest after the Chinese conglomerate took over rival hotel group Carlston-Rezidor.

HNA has contested its removal from NH’s board in the courts.

Pressure on HNA’s finances has grown after the Chinese government told major banks in June to revise their credit exposure to HNA and some other companies. ($1 = 0.8472 euros) (Writing by Sonya Dowsett; Additional reporting by Tomas Cobos and Paul Day in Madrid and Anita Kobylinska in Gdynia; Editing by Louise Heavens)

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