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Carlson sells hotel group – but headquarters will stay in MN, company says


Minnetonka based Carlson Hotels has been acquired by a Chinese tourism company, but its headquarters will stay in Minnetonka, the company said in a statement Wednesday.

The details of the sale are private, but Bloomberg estimates that the hotel group – which includes Radisson, Parka Plaza hotels, and Country Inn and Suites – could fetch about $2 billion.

The HNA Tourism Group based in Beijing already owns more than 20 airlines and hotel chains, according to the statement.

But Minnesota's seventh-largest privately held company – with 27,900 employees – will remain in the state, according to Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal.

"Understanding the need to preserve Carlson’s values, heritage and community connections, HNA Tourism Group has pledged to maintain Minnetonka, Minn., as its headquarters for the new organization," the statement reads.

Carlson is one of the world's largest hospitality companies with hotels in 115 countries and 90,000 employees worldwide. Their hotels are in the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

What's in store for the hotels?

The merger will help the companies grow digitally and increase assets in major gateway cities, according to the statement.

HNA also hopes to build up Radisson Red and other brands to attract younger, more upscale travelers, the Star Tribune says.

Senior hotels analyst David Loeb told MPR that hospitality industry is seeing more consolidation to compete with major companies like Marriott and Hilton. He also noted the sale could help the Minnetonka headquarters grow and become more important globally.

The sale comes during a wave of Chinese investment in overseas hotel properties and brands, reported Bloomberg.

CNN reports that Chinese companies are on a major global shopping spree this year, buying foreign firms at a record rate. Because the county's economy has slowed down, these deals offer corporations a way to expand.

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