By Pádraig Hoare
Tifco, the second-largest hotel chain in the country after Dalata, is set to change hands after US investment fund Apollo Global Management agreed to buy it for between €500m and €600m.
The Goldman Sachs-owned Tifco owns and operates more than 20 hotels around the country.
However, one of Cork’s most iconic hotels is not part of the deal.
The Metropole was previously under the management of Tifco but the firm has not been directly involved with the management of the MacCurtain St hotel for some time, save for minor accounting links.
The Metropole is owned by Cork-founded Trigon Group, which also owns Cork International Hotel and Cork Airport Hotel. It is understood not to be affected by the Apollo Global purchase.
Tifco owns the Crowne Plaza hotels at Dublin Airport, Dublin-Blanchardstown, and Dundalk, the Hilton Hotel in Dublin Kilmainham, Holiday Inn Express Dublin Airport, as well as non-branded hotels.
Tifco, which owns and manages some 26 five-star, four-star, and three-star hotels and resorts, also operates the Travelodge brand in Ireland, which it took over in 2016 for a reported €46m.
The terms of the Apollo Global deal have not been disclosed but the business was put up for sale earlier this year for between €500m and €600m.
Tifco was co-founded by businessmen Gerry Houlihan and Aidan Crowe, and received investment from Goldman Sachs in 2014.
Apollo Global, founded by Leon Black in 1990, manages capital for hundreds of fund investors in dozens of countries, including pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, university endowments, charitable foundations, and financial institutions.
Mr Black is well known in the art world for paying almost $120m (€103m) for one of the world’s most iconic paintings, Edvard Munch’s 1895 pastel The Scream, while his extensive collection is said to include works by Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso.
Apollo had assets under management of approximately $270bn (€232bn) as of June this year.
Notice of the deal was filed with the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, which will have to approve the deal.
Royal Bank of Scotland sold a number of buy-to-let and commercial property-related loans to Apollo Global and Deutsche Bank in 2015 for £400m (€448m) as part of Project Finn, the last of that bank’s major selloff of Irish loans.