Blackstone in exclusive talks to buy £850m Village Hotels chain

Blackstone, the giant private equity investor, is in exclusive talks to buy one of Britain's biggest mid-market hotel chains.

Sky News has learnt that Blackstone has entered a period of exclusivity to acquire Village Hotels, which is being auctioned by bankers at Morgan Stanley.

The chain was put up for sale earlier this year with a valuation of about £850m.

The news comes just days after Sky News revealed that Blackstone had tabled an offer for Village.

Sixth Street, another US-based investment firm, and Aermont, the majority backer of Pinewood Studios, were also interested in buying the company.

Village, which operates more than 30 sites across the UK, is owned by KSL Capital Partners, another buyout firm.

Its portfolio of properties includes sites in Aberdeen and Bournemouth, with rooms available at budget prices.

Founded in 1995 as Village Urban Resorts, the hotels feature pub-style restaurants and gyms.

The prospective deal comes months after attempts to sell Center Parcs UK were called off, while a mooted sale of Travelodge has so far failed to result in a deal.

KSL was reported to have paid £485m for the business when it bought it in 2014 from De Vere Group.

The Denver, Colorado-based buyout firm has also owned other UK hotel chains including Hotel du Vin and Malmaison.

Blackstone declined to comment.