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Winston Hotels to be Acquired for $410 Million

Posted February 21, 2007

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— Winston Hotels, which operates or invests in hotels under various franchise names, announced Wednesday that it has agreed to sell out to Wilbur Acquisition Holding Co. for about $410 million.

The deal, which was announced shortly after the markets closed Wednesday, calls for Wilbur Acquisition to pay $14.10 per share in cash. Shares in Winston Hotels closed at $13.71 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

Wilbur Acquisition Holding Company, an international real estate firm, is held by affiliates of Och-Ziff Real Estate and Norge Churchill, Inc.

“After careful consideration, we believe this transaction represents an attractive value to our shareholders,” Winston Hotels Chief Executive Robert W. Winston III said in a statement.

The company said it doesn't expect the merger to “affect the employees managing and overseeing the operations of the company’s hotels.”

Winston Hotels operates 53 hotels in 18 states under various franchises, such as Holiday Inn and Marriott.

The company was founded in the early 1980s by Winston's father, restaurateur and real estate developer Charles M. Winston. Charles Winston also co-founded The Angus Barn restaurant in Raleigh and the national Daryl's chain of restaurants.

Winston Hotels went public in June 1994. Once the deal is closed, it will be managed as a private company.

The company's stock is trading just off its 52-week high of $14.31 per share, but the stock has risen 3 percent in recent weeks. Its 52-week low is $9.92.

In its most recent quarterly earnings report, Winston Hotels reported a profit of 19 cents per share, or $5.4 million, on revenue of $44 million. That was a sharp jump from quarterly earnings of 6 cents per share in the same quarter a year earlier. Earnings were helped by a one-time gain of $2.9 million.
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