Hilton Hotels Corp. Bought by Private Equity

On Tuesday, July 3, New York-based private-equity firm Blackstone Group agreed to buy Hilton Hotels for about $20 billion in cash and assume another $6 billion in debt. The Hilton deal cements Blackstone's position as a major force in the U.S. hospitality industry.

Blackstone already has ownership stakes in LaQuinta Inns and LXR Luxury Resorts & Hotels. This latest deal, pending shareholder approval, will allow the firm to control Hilton's flagship chain, plus Embassy Suites, Doubletree, Hampton Inn--and the Waldorf-Astoria luxury collection.

Further, Blackstone was involved in the second- and third-largest U.S. hotel portfolio transactions of 2006, a combined $6 billion paid for MeriStar Hospitality and LaQuinta Hotels, according to Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels.