THE NAME CARLSON Hotels is no more. The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has officially renamed itself Radisson Hotel Group Inc.
The rebranding is the latest step in the global hotel company’s restructuring, begun after HNA Group Co. of China acquired the business in December 2016. In January, it changed “by Carlson” in the Country Inn & Suites flag to “by Radisson,” signaling its intentions to forge a new identity in the U.S. and abroad.
Last year, HNA clearly split the company in two, appointing John Kidd CEO of the then-Carlson Hotels Inc. in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and Federico Gonzalez Tejera CEO of the then-Rezidor Hotel Group in Brussels, Belgium.
Rezidor Hotel Group was a master licensee for Carlson brands in Europe before Carlson Hotels acquired 51 percent ownership in 2012.
Under the new name structure, Carlson Hotels Inc. is now Radisson Hospitality Inc. and Rezidor is Rezidor Hotel Group AB.
Radisson is the name of the first Minneapolis hotel that Curt Carlson acquired an interest in in 1960 and fully acquired in 1962, establishing the business run by the Carlson family until the $2 billion HNA acquisition in December 2016.
The Radisson name appears in other Carlson brands – Radisson, an upscale brand; Radisson Blu, a full-service upper-upscale offering; and Radisson Red, a new upper-upscale select-service brand. The renamed Radisson Hotel Group has seven brands. It has 1,400 hotels in 110 countries.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported the company plans to relocate from The Carlson Tower to a new location in the Minneapolis-St. Paul market.
Radisson Hospitality Inc. is expected to outline its five-year plan to franchisees and others during its U.S. brand conference April 2-4 in Orlando, Florida.
Along with reorganizing Radisson Hotel Group Inc., HNA is in the midst of its own restructuring. Major news outlets such as The Wall Street Journal and Reuters have reported the travel conglomerate is divesting its 25 percent interest in Parks Hotels & Resorts Inc., a REIT formed last year in a spinoff from Hilton Worldwide.
HNA’s stake in the REIT totals $1.4 billion. HNA also owns stock in Hilton Worldwide and another spinoff, Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. HNA also owns about 12 percent of Red Lion Hotels Corp. stock.
HNA went on a $40 billion buying spree starting in 2015. It owns about $14 billion in commercial real estate in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world. It is a major stake holder in Deutsch Bank.
The Chinese government has grown concerned over HNA’s mounting $100 billion debt, prompting HNA to explore selling off real estate and other assets as a quarter of the debt is due this year. HNA plans to divest itself of some $6 billion in commercial real estate assets, including office towers in New York and San Francisco.
HNA Group Co. began in 1993 with the formation of Hainan Airlines in Haikou, Hainan, China. It has about $178 billion in assets and revenue around $28 billion.
In relation to China’s crackdown on HNA’s overseas investment, the government has also curbed Anbang Insurance Group Co., which spurred a bidding war with Marriott International in 2016 over the acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Anbang owns the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, which is under renovation.