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Chicago-based Hyatt to Acquires Apple Leisure Group

Chicago-based Hyatt plans to buy resort company Apple Leisure Group from its private-equity owners for $2.7 billion. The deal is owned by KKR & Co. and travel-and-leisure specialist KSL Capital Partners LLC was announced Sunday after The Wall Street Journal reported it was imminent.The transactions for the deal is the latest sign of positiveness about a return to vacation travel even as the U.S. economy continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic. Apple Leisure Group’s business got clobbered by virus-related lockdowns and travel bans last year, but it has rebounded as restrictions have loosened.

Chicago-based Hyatt is one of the world’s biggest hospitality companies, the deal would strengthen its resort-management portfolio and give it one of the biggest U.S. providers of charter flights and vacation packages for travel to Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and the Caribbean. This acquisition would accelerate the company’s transformation, long underway, to a more asset-light business model, focusing on generating an ongoing stream of steady and predictable fees.

Apple Leisure Group, whose predecessor company was founded in 1969, manages the Secrets, Dreams and Breathless Resorts & Spa chains and sells vacation packages under the CheapCaribbean.com and Apple Vacations brands, among others.The company offers airport transfer, tours and excursions and corporate-event planning at a variety of destinations including Mexico and the Caribbean. KKR and KSL bought the company from Bain Capital in 2017 for an undisclosed price.

Apple Leisure Group has done several acquisitions, agreeing to merge with Funjet Vacations owner The Mark Travel Corp. and inking a deal to purchase a majority share in Spain’s Alua Hotels & Resorts in 2018.The firm’s recent deals include a June agreement to take software company Cloudera Inc. private in a roughly $5.3 billion deal alongside private equity firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice. KKR signed a $5.75 billion deal to sell Bountiful Co., the maker of Nature’s Bounty vitamins, to Nestlé SA.

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