French hotel giant Accor has looked at a possible merger with U.K.-based InterContinental Hotels, French newspaper Le Figaro has reported.
Accor, parent company of brands such as Fairmont, Sofitel, and Ibis, has not made a formal offer, according to Le Figaro. The speculation comes from Accor's management board, which, according to Le Figaro, was in favor of such a deal, though no contact had been made with InterContinental Hotels.
To examine the possibility of a merger, Accor Chief Executive Sebastien Bazin created a team in June that included Chief Financial Officer Jean-Jacques Morin and bankers from Centerview and Rothschild, the French daily reported, without citing sources.
The deal would create the world’s biggest hotel group, with over 1.6 million hotel rooms between the two, with Accor’s presence mainly in Europe and IHG operating mainly in the United States and fast growing in Greater China. The combined group would have over 50 separate brands, many of which would overlap.
Marriott is currently the world’s largest hotel group following its merger with Starwood in 2016.
Accor has been steadily growing its portfolio over the past few years. In 2017, the group acquired Canadian FRHI Holdings, the parent of luxury brands Fairmont, Raffles, and Swissotel, for $2.7 billion. That deal added more than 100 high-end hotels to Accor’s portfolio, including London's Savoy and New York's Plaza Hotel.
The Paris based-company also bought an 85% stake in 21c Museum Hotels, a luxury hotel chain in the United States, for $51 million and a 50% stake in SBE Entertainment Group for $319 million in 2018.