Would You Like a SPAC with Your Hotel Room? | Sidnaz Blog

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Accor has earned a reputation as the hotel industry’s most enthusiastic corporate buyer in recent years.



Photo:

franck fife/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

If a hotelier strikes you as an unlikely sponsor for a special-purpose acquisition company, you don’t know

Accor.


AC 1.09%

The French company, whose chains include Fairmont and Sofitel, said Thursday that it wanted to launch a SPAC on the Paris stock exchange. The shell company would be worth about €300 million ($366 million) and scout for targets focused on food and drink, flexible working and events, among other sectors.

SPACs are typically associated with American business tycoons. As a company, and a European one, Accor would be an unusual sponsor. It is also late to the party: Appetite for SPACs in the U.S. has collapsed in recent months.

Yet the move isn’t out of character. Accor has earned a reputation as the hotel industry’s most enthusiastic corporate buyer in recent years. French newspaper Le Figaro reported last August that Accor was even studying a bid for

Intercontinental Hotels,

owner of Holiday Inn—a move that would finally give the French company the big U.S. business it craves.

Accor’s “augmented hospitality” strategy involves attracting all manner of business to its hotels, from fine dining to workspace providing. The SPAC could bring it a new client at little cost and most likely a profit. Sponsoring the vehicles has been a lucrative business, controversially so.

Also, it might be more fun for a European hotel company to think about deals than the grinding post-pandemic recovery.

Private companies are flooding to special-purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, to bypass the traditional IPO process and gain a public listing. WSJ explains why some critics say investing in these so-called blank-check companies isn’t worth the risk. Illustration: Zoë Soriano/WSJ

Write to Stephen Wilmot at stephen.wilmot@wsj.com

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