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CHICAGO-An affiliate of Aries Capital, based here, is forming an alliance with HI Group LLC, with offices here and in New York City, to provide hotel investment banking services. Aries Hospitality Group LLC and HI Group plan to focus on deals between $15 million to more than $100 million throughout the US, the Caribbean and in Europe, particularly in western Europe, says Neil Freeman, chairman and CEO of Aries Capital. Freeman and Paul Weimer, with HI Group, will head up the alliance. Ariel Freeman, VP of Aries Hospitality, will serve as VP of the group’s New York City office.

Aries, which was formed in 1991 by Freeman, “has focused mostly on debt – senior debt and mezzanine debt,” he says. “We have done some equity but that has been a smaller piece of our business.” Aries Hospitality Group was established as an affiliate a few years ago. The firm has offices in Chicago, Denver, Houston, New York City and Phoenix, Freeman says.

HI Group “has been involved in the institutional equity and brokerage business,” he says. HI Group had did some hotel deals but wanted to focus on hotels with a separate division. “It made sense for both companies to create a strategic alliance focusing on hotels where we can help on the debt side of the equation and they can help on the equity side,” Freeman says. By forming the alliance, “we can provide better service to institutional and entrepreneurial hotel borrowers and provide better product and service for hotel capital partners.”

The two firms will combine resources to source, process and close hotel equity and sales transactions. “The principals of HI Group and the principals of Aries Capital have worked on transactions before,” Freeman says. Aries decided to form the alliance to make it easier to serve clients needs in increasingly complicated hotel transactions, Freeman says.

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