Hilton Shares Jump in Stock Market Debut

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Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. shares jumped in initial trading Thursday as the company returns to the market in the largest hotel IPO ever.

The McLean, Va.-based hotelier was taken private in 2007 by the Blackstone Group. It returned as a publicly traded company Thursday, raising $2.35 billion in its offering of 117.6 million shares at $20 each. That tops the total payoff of $2.1 billion generated by Twitter’s IPO last month.

Hilton shares rose $1.62, or 8.1 percent, to $21.62 in midday trading after rising as high as $21.91 earlier.

Hilton is the world’s largest hotel group with 665,667 rooms across 90 countries and territories. It operates luxury brands such as the Waldorf Astoria and Conrad Hotels & Resorts but has built much of its recent growth on franchise deals.

Investor demand for IPOs has been strong recently. Hilton’s offering has trumped those of its peers. The next biggest was Hyatt Hotels Corp.’s $1.1 billion offering in 2009, according to Dealogic.

Hilton’s market capitalization of about $20 billion is well above that of other hoteliers following the offering. Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. each have market capitalizations of $13.8 billion as of the close of trading Wednesday.

Blackstone is not selling any shares in the IPO, and will continue to hold majority voting power in the company. Hilton plans to use the proceeds from the offering to pay back debt.

Hilton said it is selling 64.1 million shares and a stockholder is offering 53.5 million shares. The underwriters also have been given an option to buy an additional 17.6 million shares at the $20 offering price to cover additional demand.

Its shares are trading under the symbol “HLT” on the New York Stock Exchange.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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