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ARLINGTON, VA-Interstate Hotels & Resorts has signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by Hotel Acquisition Co. LLC in a deal valued at approximately $307 million. Hotel Acquisition Co. is a 50-50 joint venture between a private equity fund sponsored by Annapolis, Md.-based Thayer Lodging Group and Shanghai Jin Jiang International Hotels (Group) Co. Ltd., in Shanghai.

Pending shareholder approval, IHR, Hotel Acquisition Co. will acquire all outstanding common stock and operating partnership units at $2.25 per share in an all-cash transaction. According to a statement released by IHR, the price is a premium of 77%, or 98 cents a share, over the company’s Dec. 17 closing stock price.

Since news of the transaction broke, shares of Interstate Hotels jumped 74% to $2.22 a share. IHR’s board of directors has approved the merger agreement. Shareholders will be asked to vote on the proposed merger at a meeting on a date yet to be determined. The merger is anticipated to close during Q1 2010.

“Our priority, as always, is to maximize shareholder value,” said Thomas F. Hewitt, IHR’s chairman and chief executive officer in a statement about the proposed merger. “This is a very compelling offer at a significant premium. The hotel industry remains in deep recession, and we believe this transaction offers the highest and best value to our shareholders.” Sources were not available for comment at deadline.

This summer IHR converted its senior credit facility of $161.2 million into a new term loan, extending its maturity out to March 2012. At the same time, the company received an $8-million revolving credit line under the new agreement.

A sponsor of real estate investment funds, Thayer is a value-add investor that works with major lodging brands to acquire and reposition hotels. It sold $1.7 billion of hotels and resorts — or 85% of its real estate portfolio — in 2006-2007, while renovating and repositioning the remainder.

It also recently closed of its fifth investment fund, Thayer Hotel Investors V LP, and its parallel fund, V-A LP, together totaling $280 million.

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