September 6, 2017 / 7:33 AM / 10 months ago

Barcelo hires Santander to study offer for NH Hotel Group: El Confidencial

MADRID (Reuters) - Family-owned Spanish hotel group Barcelo has hired Santander bank (SAN.MC) to study a possible takeover of NH Hotel Group (NHH.MC) in a move that could create one of the biggest hotel chains in Spain, El Confidencial reported on Wednesday, citing sources with knowledge of the process.

Although no formal talks have started, initial contact has been made between shareholders, the online newspaper said.

Neither Barcelo, NH or Santander were available for comment on Wednesday. Shares in NH rose 4.5 percent in early trade.

The purchase of a 29.5 percent stake in NH by China’s HNA Group (0521.HK) 000616.SZ last year has led to a shareholder face-off at the hotel chain.

Almost 60 percent of NH’s shareholders backed a motion to oust HNA-appointed board members at its annual meeting in June over what they said was a conflict of interest from the Chinese conglomerate’s takeover of a rival hotel group.

HNA filed a lawsuit in September last year asking for the decision to be reversed. A Madrid court dismissed the claim on Tuesday.

Barcelo Hotel Group has more than 100 hotels in 20 countries.

Reporting By Andres Gonzalez; Writing by Sonya Dowsett

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