Sidley leads Starwood on Le Meridien buyout

Sidley Austin

Brown & Wood has secured the lead advisory role on Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ successful acquisition of the Le Meridien brand and management business.

The sale is part of the global restructuring of Le Meridien and also included the refinancing of more than £1bn in Le Meridien debt, as well as the joint venture purchase of 40 Le Meridien hotels by Lehman Brothers and Starwood Capital Group.

Sidley began advising Starwood Hotels on the transaction in 2003, when Lehman Brothers and Starwood jointly acquired all of Le Meridien’s outstanding senior debt for £720m.

Last year, Lehman Brothers and Starwood Hotels acquired control of Le Meridien’s outstanding senior mezzanine debt, with Starwood Hotels later given the exclusive right to propose the restructuring of Le Meridien.

Sidley partner Robert Asher said the firm has represented Starwood Hotels for more than 30 years. “We’ve advised [Starwood Hotels] on its biggest transactions, including its $14.6bn [£8.45bn] acquisition of ITT Corporation and its $2bn [£1.16bn] acquisition of Westin Hotels & Resorts, which were both completed in 1998.”

Sidley is also acting for Starwood Hotels on the sale of 38 hotels to Host Marriott for $4bn (£2.31bn) in a deal expected to close in early 2006.

Clifford Chance erected a Chinese wall to act for Le Meridien as well as underwriter Deutsche Bank.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer acted for Lehman Brothers.

Starwood Hotels will manage the hotels acquired by Lehman Brothers as well as 110 hotels worldwide currently operated by Le Meridien.