Motel 6 bought by Hilton owner Blackstone for $1.9 billion

Motel 6 bought by Hilton owner Blackstone for $1.9 billion
The original Motel 6 in Santa Barbara, Calif. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

Motel 6 and Studio 6, the no-frills budget hotel chains that once offered rooms for $6 a night, are being sold by French parent Accor for $1.9 billion.

Their new owner, an affiliate of private equity firm

Blackstone Group

, already owns Hilton Worldwide. Blackstone's Real Estate Partners VII fund said it plans to "accelerate the expansion of the franchise base" for Motel 6 and Studio 6.

Accor said it will use proceeds from the sale to slash its debt and grow its luxury Sofitel and Novotel hotels in expanding markets such as Asia, Latin America and Europe.

Motel 6 has struggled recently, trying to revamp its aesthetics and amenities but still failing to perform as well as Accor's other brands. The chain features occasionally in popular culture, making appearances in a

Yo La Tengo

song, a Stephen King book and in a Simpsons episode.

More Americans plan to travel this

Memorial Day

weekend -- but many will be following a budget, according to a survey last week from


. The hospitality industry is gradually recovering from the recession, when travel dropped significantly and occupancy levels in hotels slumped to their lowest levels since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Last year, a record number of foreign visitors boosted overall tourism spending in the U.S. to $1.2 trillion, an 8.1% increase.


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