Bass set to snap up Inter-Continental with pounds 1.7bn offer

BASS is poised to buy Inter-Continental, the upmarket hotel group, in what promises to be the biggest deal it has ever made. The British brewing, hotels and leisure giant is understood to be on the brink of signing a deal to purchase the 211-strong hotel chain for more than $2.8bn (pounds 1.7bn) from Seibu Saison, a private Japanese group.

Bass has fought off stiff competition from Marriott International and Patriot American Hospitality, the US hotel magnates, and Ladbroke Group, the UK leisure group, to win a bidding war for Inter-Continental. The acquisition is likely to be announced within days.

Inter-Continental would be a good fit for Bass, which owns the Holiday Inn chain but lacks a strong, five-star, luxury hotel brand.

The two groups would also complement each other geographically. Holiday Inn has a big presence in the US, while Inter-Continental is stronger in Europe and the Far East.

One City observer said: "This deal makes a lot of sense strategically. Bass has lacked a top-quality hotel brand and this deal plugs the gap that the group had in its portfolio and gives it a good presence around the world."

Bass shares fell 26.5p to 960p, however, over fears that the group may overpay for Inter-Continental. Mark Finnie, leisure analyst at NatWest Securities said: "We estimate that Saison makes an EBITDA, [annual profit before interest, tax and depreciation] of around $180m. If Bass pays more than $2.8bn the deal will be on a very punchy multiple."

Another industry analyst said: "The share price fall reflects nervousness that Bass has been forced to pay too much to win the bidding war. The group is dripping with debt and nobody is quite sure how much debt will be included in the deal."

The deal will create one of the biggest hotel groups in the world. Inter- Continental has 211 hotels in 77 countries and 24 more under construction. Of these, 117 trade under the Inter-Continental name, including London flagship hotels on Hyde Park and Mayfair and there are hotels in most of the main capitals of Europe. It has sites throughout Asia including three in Japan, and a large hotel in Seoul, South Korea. The group also has 20 mid-market Forum hotels and 50 Global Partnerships, where it has teamed up with local operators to run sites.

Bass already has 2,380 hotels, including almost 1,600 Holiday Inns. It has 134 Crown Plaza sites, its own upmarket brand. Analysts believe they could eventually be converted to Inter-Continental sites as the group seeks to create a strong position in the premium hotel market.

The deal caps a period of frenetic corporate activity that has seen Bass sell off its tenanted pub estate, the Coral betting chain and Gala bingo.

Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Rodgers showered praise on Balotelli last week, which led to speculation he could sign the AC Milan front man
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Lizards, such as Iguanas (pictured), have a unique pattern of tissue growth
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Arctic Monkeys headline this year's Reading and Leeds festivals, but there's a whole host of other bands to check out too
music(who aren't Arctic Monkeys)
Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental overdose in 2007
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tvReview: Bread-making skills of the Bake Off hopefuls put to the test
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Test Lead (C#, Java, HTML, SQL) Kingston Finance

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A Global Financial Service Organi...

Access/Teradata Developer, Banking, Bristol £400pd

£375 - £400 per day: Orgtel: Access / Teradata Developer - Banking - Bristol -...

Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home