Starwood Capital on the verge of buying De Vere Venues

American investment firm Starwood Capital Group is believed to be closing in on a deal to acquire the De Vere Group’s venues division for up to £280m.

De Vere Venues includes around 30 properties and can cater for 700,000 delegates per year. Properties consist of the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, the East Midlands Conference Centre, and Grade I-listed Chicheley Hall, near Milton Keynes (pictured).

Starwood Capital, which bought rival operator Principal Hayley Hotels for an undisclosed sum in February, has long been considered the frontrunner to buy the conference centre chain. They are however not the only firm interested, with private equity firm TDR Capital still showing an interest.

The sale of the De Vere Venues came to light in April when De Vere appointed investment bank Lazard to handle to transaction.

The sale is expected to generate £270m-£280m and is part of efforts to reduce the debt pile of the hotelier, which is controlled by Lloyds Banking Group.

The sale proceeds may also be used to invest in De Vere hotels, which include Cameron House on Loch Lomond and Mottran Hall in Cheshire.