Reuters: Blackstone Explores $4.5 billion La Quinta Sale -source

(Reuters) – Blackstone Group LP is exploring a sale of La Quinta Inns & Suites, a budget hotel chain it values at around $4.5 billion, a person familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Blackstone has hired JPMorgan Chase & Co and Morgan Stanley to explore an outright sale of La Quinta but also prepare it for the possibility of an initial public offering, the person said, asking not be identified because the matter is confidential.

Blackstone declined to comment while representatives of La Quinta, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Since Blackstone took La Quinta private in 2006 in a $3.4 billion deal, it has focused on growing the brand through additional franchise locations as well as the acquisition of more assets.

With more than 550 hotels in 39 states, La Quinta is one of the largest owners and operators of budget service hotels in the United States.

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported on Blackstone hiring banks to explore a sale of La Quinta.