Bumper [Pounds Sterling]4.2bn Handout on Way for Hilton Faithful

The Evening Standard (London, England), February 23, 2006 | Go to article overview

Bumper [Pounds Sterling]4.2bn Handout on Way for Hilton Faithful


Byline: JIM ARMITAGE

HILTON GROUP is to hand shareholders a massive [pounds sterling]4.2 billion springtime cashback as it returns the proceeds of selling its hotels arm to its US sister company.

News of the huge return - higher than originally anticipated - came today as Hilton said it had completed the deal with Hilton Hotels Corp of America, leaving the UK group with the Ladbrokes betting arm.

The sum is made up of the [pounds sterling]3.3 billion proceeds of the hotels sale and [pounds sterling]900 million freed up from the Ladbrokes business by a refinancingprogramme.

Labrokes, headed by Chris Bell, has been inundated with takeover approaches from venture capitalists since the sale of the hotels was announced.

But Bell said he wanted to keep the business as a standalone quoted company.

He was today set to register the company's new name, Ladbrokes Plc, with Companies House.

Bell, who has for years played second fiddle to Hilton Group chief executive David Michels, said: "It is amazingly exciting. …

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