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AccorHotels Continues North American Expansion With Stake In Southern Hotel Chain

A French hospitality company is continuing its hotel shopping spree with a recent buy for a small chain of luxury hotels concentrated in the southern U.S.

A 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville, Ky.

Paris-based AccorHotels is spending $51M for an 85% stake in Louisville, Kentucky-based 21c Museum Hotels, the French company announced Tuesday. The independent brand has eight hotels across the southern U.S. and Ohio along with three under development. 21c Museum co-founders Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson will retain a 15% stake in the company, and the brand will continue to be based in Kentucky after the deal’s expected close by Q3, Skift reports

Accor is expected to integrate 21c Museum into its MGallery luxury collection of hotels. The 21c Museum portfolio would be the first North American properties in the MGallery collection.

The acquisition is the latest in a string of pricey North American purchases by the French hospitality brand. It announced in June it spent $319M for a 50% stake in Los Angeles-based hotel and restaurant company SBE Entertainment Group. Accor also closed in 2016 a $2.7B deal for Toronto-based Fairmont Raffles Hotels International.

While the shopping spree has led some in the hotel industry to question how much more Accor can acquire, there appears to be plenty of room left on the brand’s runway of growth. The May spinoff of its AccorInvest real estate unit has left the company with more than $5B to spend after the SBE and 21c deals close.

Accor currently has 23 brands under its purview, and company CEO Sebastien Bazin has previously expressed a desire to bring that number to as high as 40. He also indicated North America would be a source of future growth.

The company announced in April it would open the first Raffles Hotel & Resorts in the Western Hemisphere in Boston.