IRVING, TX—La Quinta Holdings began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the LQ symbol Wednesday, eight years after being taken private by the Blackstone Group. The Irving, TX-based operator of select-service hotels raised $650 million in its initial public offering Tuesday, selling 38.25 million shares at $17 apiece, below the $18-to-$21 range the company previously announced.
LaQuinta, which has also granted underwriters the option to buy as many as 5.7 million additional shares at the IPO price, expects to realize about $618 million in net proceeds from the IPO. It plans to use net proceeds to repay debt and for general corporate purposes. The company had expected to raise as much as $780 million from the IPO, according to an SEC filing in March.
The LaQuinta offering is the third lodging IPO from Blackstone in the past six months, following Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. and Extended Stay America. Blackstone affiliates will continue to hold a majority stake in La Quinta.
The $17-per-share price gives La Quinta a market value of $2.1 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That represents 47 times its 2013 earnings of $44.5 million, and compares with an average price-to-earnings multiple of about 29 for seven other US hoteliers including Hyatt Hotels Corp. and Choice Hotels International Inc., Bloomberg reported Wednesday.
LaQuinta’s IPO occurs amid a strong recovery in the hotel sector. Data from STR show that domestic hotels sold a record-breaking 1.11 billion rooms last year, compared to 940.5 million in the depths of the downturn. The Urban Land Institute and EY‘s consensus forecast calls for occupancy to reach 63.1% this year and 63.8% by 2016, exceeding the 2006 peak of 63.2%.
In its SEC filing last month, La Quinta said STR rated it as the fastest growing principal select-service hotel brand in the US primarily serving the midscale and upper-midscale segments. Since its January 2006 acquisition by Blackstone, La Quinta has expanded its franchise system by approximately three times, growing from 158 franchised hotels to 477, with an additional 187 hotels in the pipeline as of this past Dec. 31. It operates and franchises more than 830 lodging properties across the US, Canada and Mexico.