Blackstone Group is taking advantage of the rising stock price of McLean, Va.-based Hilton Worldwide Holdings, announcing Monday that it will sell 103.5 million shares of the hotel company.
Blackstone’s ownership stake in the hotelier will be at 46 percent after the sale, down from 55 percent before the sale. The New York investment firm remains the hotel company’s largest shareholder.
“This is really the confluence of a company with huge potential, long-term patient capital and a first-rate management team that could maximize that potential,” Blackstone spokesman Peter Rose said of the eight-year relationship between Hilton and Blackstone.
Blackstone owned 76 percent when the New York private equity giant took Hilton public in December 2013 at $20 per share.
Hilton shares have been on a run, rising around 30 percent during the past 12 months. Hilton shares closed at $29.70 on Monday, down 1.33 percent.
Blackstone has sold 300 million shares since the initial public offering nearly 18 months ago.
Blackstone purchased Hilton for $26 billion in July of 2007, during the very peak of what is generally considered the heyday of private equity. Blackstone used $5.5 billion of its own cash and $20.5 billion from its bankers to make the deal.
The deal at first was thought to be disastrous, given the financial crisis that followed within a month. But Blackstone hired Washington native Christopher J. Nassetta from Host Hotels to turn it around, which took several years until the IPO in 2013.
Blackstone is the world’s largest asset manager, with more than $300 billion under management. The firm last month reported that its first-quarter profit doubled from a year ago, due mostly to its private equity and real estate divisions.
Hilton Worldwide is a hospitality company operating 4,350 hotels, resorts and timeshare properties, consisting of more than 720,000 rooms in 94 countries and territories.