Pritzker buys out Pomerancs to take sole control of Commune

George Sell George Sell Uploaded 06 August 2013


US: John Pritzker, through his private-equity firm Geolo Capital, has bought the Pomeranc brothers' 50 per cent share of Commune Hotels and Resorts for an undisclosed sum.

Pritzker, the son of the late founder of the Hyatt Hotels Corporation, is taking over six Thompson properties including two in New York, the Hollywood Roosevelt in Los Angeles and the Belgraves in London, as well as the Thompson brand name. Not included in the deal are 60 Thompson, Thompson LES and 6 Columbus in New York; Hotel Victor in Miami Beach; and the Thompson Beverly Hills. Thompson LES and Thompson Beverly Hills will change their names under the brand-acquisition agreement.

Commune was created in October 2011 by a merger of Joie de Vivre Hotels and Thompson Hotels. It has 43 properties and 14 under development, and recently announced the launch of its Tommie budget brand. It is run by CEO Niki Leondakis, the former president and COO of Kimpton.

Commenting on the deal, Pritzker told Bloomberg Businessweek: "This creates better alignment between management and money. It allows us to use our own capital, to grow our three brands in the way we want to, and have a single, focused management. We won't have two different points of view."

Jason Pomeranc and his brothers, Michael and Larry, said they "are incredibly proud to see how Thompson Hotels has evolved into an enormously impactful global hospitality brand. We now look forward to exciting new endeavours and wish John Pritzker and the entire Commune family well."

Pritzker emphasised his 2012 goal for Commune to reach $1 billion in revenue within five years. "We're looking to grow as long as we're being productive," he said. "We have done it and continue to do it. There's a number of different ways to deploy our money."

Editor's Comment

The alliance between Hyatt heir John Pritzker's Joie de Vivre and the Pomeranc brothers' Thompson has always been an intriguing one.

Two of America's most influential hospitality dynasties working in the same company was always going to throw up some issues over the direction of the firm, so it's a logical move for Pritzker to take sole control of Commune. He hasn't wasted any time in putting his management team in place, with the key appointment of Niki Leondakis as CEO a clear statement of intent.

It will be interesting to chart Commune's growth from here on - Pritzker and Leondakis are nothing if not ambitious, and you can rest assured we haven't heard the last of the Pomerancs in this sector.


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