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CLEVELAND and ATLANTA – Vantage Hospitality Group announced this afternoon that it has entered into an agreement for an undisclosed amount to acquire America's Best Franchising. America's Best Franchising consists of 225 hotels in six core brands: America's Best Inns & Suites, Country Hearth, Budgetel Inns & Suites, Jameson Inn, 3 Palms Hotels & Resorts and Signature Inn.
The acquisition rolls Atlanta-based America's Best Franchising into the eighth largest hotel chain worldwide, which includes more than 1,000 properties under the Americas Best Value Inn, Canadas Best Value Inn, Value Inn Worldwide, Value Hotel Worldwide, Lexington Inn, Lexington Hotel and Lexington Legacy banners.
In a press conference today, Mr. Sterling F. Stoudenmire IV, who just became ABF's new president and CEO in February, said, "Earlier this year, ABF's board of directors brought me in to evaluate the opportunities to grow ABF and to increase the value that we can provide to our franchisees." He elaborated that after discussion with the board of directors and franchisees under his brands that it became clear of the need for a strategic partner: "someone with the scale, resources and expertise necessary to compete and win in today's marketplace… and to do so in a manner consistent with our 'owner's first' philosophy. After getting to know Roger and the Vantage corporate team, I have no doubt that they are the right fit for ABF. Their conviction to educate, not mandate, and their existing resources and programs will allow them to offer new opportunities to our property owners that will help them improve their bottom lines and position them to succeed in the long term."
Vantage's bottom-up, parliamentary process is unique among major hotel chains. Each hotel brand follows the national directions of their franchise owners, who collectively vote on all major strategic actions taken by their individual brand.
Vantage founder, president and CEO Roger Bloss added, "By combining brands under the Vantage umbrella, we will strengthen our synergies and continue to enhance our competitive advantage with a full line of brand segments that address the needs of both hotel owners and consumers. This will offer our members greater distribution, more marketing dollars and enhanced exposure, and additional revenue-generating programs and resources."
"It's exciting to experience a continued evolution of our brands and philosophies," added Bloss. "All of our properties will benefit as we reach the right consumer, with the right brand, at the right price, at the right time – which means more ROI for our hotel owners."
Hotel consultant Stanley Turkel thinks this is good news for hotel owners. "Here's a merger that will strengthen the Vantage Hospitality Group, the company that proves that fair franchising is not an oxymoron", says the author of various books on historical hotels and the industry's biggest innovators.
The transaction, which was arranged by Brown Nester Hospitality Services (an affiliate of Vantage) and its president Chuck Nester, is expected to formally close later this year.