Hyatt Sells Minority Stake

CHICAGO (AP) – A private investment firm linked to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Chairman Rob Walton and a group affiliated with Goldman Sachs Capital Partners have agreed to make a $1 billion equity investment in hotel owner Global Hyatt Corp.

The investment by Madrone Capital Partners and The Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s investment arm represents a minority stake and will be used mainly to provide liquidity to the Pritzker family interests that currently own Global Hyatt, the privately held Chicago company said in a statement Wednesday.

“We believe we have served the interests of both the company and its shareholders,” said Global Hyatt Chairman Tom Pritzker.

Detailed terms about the transaction and the size of the stake were not disclosed.

Global Hyatt wanted to open up its shareholder base to investors who shared its vision to build “a broad based, world class participant in the hospitality industry,” Pritzker said, adding the new investors also had a global presence and world-class reputations.

One representative of the Goldman group and one from Menlo Park, Calif.-based Madrone will join Hyatt Global's board, the statement said.

Walton, the son of Wal-Mart's late founder Sam Walton, also heralded the investment.

“Global Hyatt has all of the ingredients necessary for long-term growth: A capable and dedicated group of associates, solid capital base, well-respected brands and a global footprint including a strong presence in the highest growth areas in the world,” he said in a statement.

Pritzker also tried to dispel reports that Hyatt might seek liquidity through an initial public offering of stock.

“While we have previously spoken about making Global Hyatt 'public ready' in all aspects of our reporting, controls, management and growth profile, we have no specific plans to access the public markets at this time,” he said.