If you're driving on the interstate and are looking for a hotel or a resort, Interstate Hotels & Resorts is your company. The nation's largest independent hotel operator manages more than 400 hotels throughout North America, as well as in Europe and the Asia/Pacific region. Its portfolio boasts more than 70,000 rooms and includes locations affiliated with hotel chains, including Marriott, Hilton, Sheraton, Westin, Radisson, and Wyndham; it also manages properties for independent hotels. The company has ownership stakes in about 60 of its properties (it wholly owns less than 10). A joint venture between subsidiaries of Thayer Lodging and Shanghai Jin Jiang International Hotels owns Interstate.
Interstate unveiled a new global corporate identity, logo, and website in 2012. Featuring a stylized globe with an "I" in the center, the brand is designed to reflect and unite its global reach. The previous year the company expanded its portfolio when it assumed management of Summit Hotel Properties' 65 hotels. The deal added more than 6,500 rooms that are located in 19 states, bringing the total of properties managed by Interstate to more than 300.
Interstate's expansion came after the company was acquired by affiliates of Thayer Lodging (a private equity firm that invests exclusively in the lodging sector) and Jin Jiang Hotels. The two firms purchased Interstate in 2010 for more than $300 million. The company had been suffering along with the rest of the lodging industry, as consumer demand for hotel rooms fell during a weak economy. In addition, it had a heavy debt load worth some $200 million. As a result, Interstate Hotels was suspended from the NYSE in 2009 for not meeting its minimum $15 million market capitalization requirement. The company successfully appealed the ruling before Thayer and Jin Jiang came to the rescue.
The transaction by Thayer and Jin Jiang represented the largest overseas acquisition ever completed in China's hotel sector, and was a key step in Jin Jiang's goal of overseas expansion. It also paved the way for Interstate to form a joint venture agreement with Jin Jiang in 2010 to offer third-party hotel management in China. The deal represents Interstate's first properties in China. Also that year the company formed a strategic alliance with International Hotel Investments, an affiliate of Harte Holdings, to operate and invest in hotels throughout Europe.
The current incarnation of the company was formed in 2002, when Pittsburgh-based Interstate Hotels Corp. and Washington, DC-based MeriStar Hotels & Resorts merged to form Interstate Hotels & Resorts. Interstate exited the corporate housing business in 2007 when it sold its BridgeStreet division to an affiliate of Ireland-based Sorrento Asset Management for more than $40 million in cash.