The company was founded in 2002 by Rob Kline and Maki Bara.Shortly after it opened shop, the company took on the assetmanagement assignment for a 2,000-room portfolio owned by OxfordCapital Group LLC, a company Kline and Maki had partnered with onother transactions, and changed its name to Oxford Lodging Advisory& Investment Group.

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"It made sense at the time," Kline tells GlobeSt.com. "[We andOxford] had acquired properties with large opportunity funds anddidn't want them to think this split we were going through would[have any negative effect] on the investments, so sharing theOxford name made sense."

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Six years later, the company has grown into one of theindustry's largest investors, with a 15,600-room portfolio ofluxury and upscale hotels, conference centers and resorts in the USand Japan. Kline and Bara have an interest in 65% of the estimated$5-billion portfolio. The rest of the portfolio is comprised ofassets that its investor partners have asked the company to manageon a fee basis. Kline and Bara also control Kokua Hospitality LLC,which manages the independent hotels in the company'sportfolio.

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Kline tells GlobeSt.com that the new name is intended not onlyto differentiate the company from lots of similarly namedbusinesses but also to better position it for the future."Incorporating the Oxford name was an accommodation to our previousventures with Oxford Capital," Kline says. "This intentionalduplication and the simple fact that so many other companies andproducts also share the Oxford common name led to considerablemarket confusion."

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Additionally, Blum says the Oxford Lodging name focused toostrongly on the company's advisory capacity rather than on its nowprimary role as a lodging investment specialist. Going forward, thecompany will maintain its staff and its headquarters at 50California St., as well as its regional offices in New York, LosAngeles, Chicago and Tokyo. In addition, Bruce Blum, the one-timeCEO of Doral Hotels & Resorts who heads up the company's EastCoast operations, now owns a stake in the company along with Klineand Bara.

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Under the Lodging Advisory & Investment Group name, thecompany is known for its acquisition and announced renovation of anumber of high-profile properties, including New York's JumeriahEssex House and Chicago's Allerton and Chicago City Centreproperties. In San Francisco, its work has included the renovation,repositioning and re-launching of the Sir Francis Drake and PanPacific hotels in the tony Union Square area.

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Kline says the company capitalizes every property it acquiresindependently, and that a big motivator for his staff is that everyemployee has the right to invest in every property it acquires. Thecompany has no set hold period for its assets. It still owns thefirst asset Kline made a direct investment in, which was nine yearsago, but sold the Pan Pacific San Francisco in 2006 after athree-year hold. It reportedly acquired the property for less than$50 million in partnership with Whitehall Street Global Real EstateLimited Partnership 2001, put several million into a renovation andsold it for $95 million.

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"We're always looking to align our interests with the fate ofthe capital markets; at our core we are trying to create value andmonetize it whenever the capital markets allow for it," Kline says."When capital markets are active and dynamic, we are in thererefinancing or recapitalizing or outright selling; we've done allof those things over this last bubble period."

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