According to reports in the French national newspaper Le Figaro, Accor has been examining a possible merger with Intercontinental Hotels Group – a move which would create the world’s largest hotel group.
Le Figaro said no formal approach has been made by Accor to IHG, but that Accor’s CEO and chairman Sébastien Bazin set up an internal taskforce in June to investigate the possibilities. Accor’s financial director Jean-Jacques Morin was reportedly on the team, which also included investment banks Centerview and Rothschild.
Without citing sources, the newspaper said Accor’s board of directors are in favor of the merger, but Bazin had been more cautious of any move. Both hotel groups have declined to comment on the speculation.
A merger of the two groups would create the world’s largest hotel group with a combined total of over 1.6 million hotel rooms, surpassing Marriott which currently holds that title following its merger with Starwood in 2016.
It’s likely that any merger would face antitrust hurdles from regulators, but analysts say the two groups would complement each other geographically, with the majority of IHG’s properties located in the US, and Accor having most of its properties outside China and the United States.
If any merger goes through, it would leave the combined group with over 50 separate brands, many of which would overlap.