NEW YORK CITY-Franchising was one key component in locally based Blackstone Group’s $3.4-billion offer for La Quinta, executives from the Dallas-based hotel group said during a conference call earlier today. “It’s a core component of La Quinta,” said Alan L. Tallis, chief development officer & president of franchising. He said the company’s previously announced goal of growing the brands by 75 properties per year will continue. “Blackstone is very supportive of our growth goal.”

La Quinta chairman and CEO Francis W. Cash added that “Blackstone has indicated” that it want to grow the firm’s two brands–La Quinta and Baymont Inns & Suites–and may covert some northeast properties to La Quintas. A Blackstone Group spokesperson tells that the firm cannot comment on the deal at this time.

Cash said he expects the company, which will transition from a publicly held company to a privately held one, to be headquartered in Dallas with the same management team. “We’ll have a broader platform and hope to accelerate occupancy rates.” He added that Blackstone intends to invest $100 million over the next three years to upgrade the properties.

Of the $3.4 billion, approximately $2.3 billion is equity that will be paid to shareholders and $800 million is in assumed debt and costs related to the transaction. A shareholders’ vote has yet to be set on a proposal for $11.25 per share in cash. Cash said additional details will be released when a proxy statement is filed a few weeks from now.

In August, Blackstone acquired another Dallas firm, Wyndham International Inc., $3.24 billion. The company subsequently sold the Wyndham brand to Cendant Corp. for $100 million the following month. Cash compared the two deals saying that the Wyndham transaction was “all about real estate assets,” while in this case it’s about “buying brands.”

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