The $1.2 billion acquisition of Mantra Group by French hotel giant Accor is expected to be completed by May, after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) gave its approval.
Accor’s bid for Mantra last October was unanimously accepted by the Mantra board three days later, however the planned deal has been subject to approval by the competition regulator.
Accor has a network of over 200 hotels in Australia. The bulk of Accor’s business is focused on hotel-style accommodation and its brands include Sofitel, Novotel, Mercure and Ibis.
The ASX-listed Mantra Group is focusing on serviced apartments, which it offers through its Peppers, Art Series and Breakfree brands.
Last year, the Mantra Group acquired the Art Series Hotel Group for $52.5 million.
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There was speculation the ACCC would require the two hotel groups to dispose of some of their hotels in regions where they may have more market power such as Queensland, but this was not flagged as a problem by the regulator.
ACCC Chairman Rod Sims says the combined Accor-Mantra will still compete with other international and national hotel chains, as well as many independent hotels and accommodation providers.
"The combined Accor-Mantra will have a large number of properties in some areas, particularly in certain holiday destinations in Queensland.
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“However, in each case and after a detailed review the ACCC has found that there are also sufficient other options nearby for visitors which will provide competition to Accor-Mantra," Sims said.
The merger will create a hotel group with about 15 per cent of the local hotel market, with around 370 hotels, 53,000 rooms and a dozen brands.
The rise of online booking services also helped seal the deal.