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21c Museum Hotels sells $51 million majority share to AccorHotels

The 21c Museum Hotel and its Lockbox restaurant, with signature blue penguin, were mentioned in the Washington Post, which wrote about things to do, places to eat and places to stay in Lexington.
The 21c Museum Hotel and its Lockbox restaurant, with signature blue penguin, were mentioned in the Washington Post, which wrote about things to do, places to eat and places to stay in Lexington.

French multinational company AccorHotels on Tuesday announced that it has signed an agreement to buy 85 percent of 21c Museum Hotels, a Louisville-based chain of eight hotels with locations including Lexington and Louisville.

The purchase price for the 85 percent stake is $51 million, according to a release from AccorHotels. No real estate is included in the acquisition, which is expected to be completed during the third quarter of 2018.

21c Museum Hotels was founded in Louisville in 2006 by philanthropists and contemporary art collectors Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson. After the Louisville 21c launched, the company opened properties in Lexington, Cincinnati, Durham, Kansas City, Nashville, Oklahoma City and Bentonville, Arkansas. Three more 21c properties are being developed in Des Moines, Miami and Chicago.

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Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown walked the red carpet interviews outside the Hermitage Derby Toast at 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville in 2016. Pablo Alcala Lexington Herald-Leader

Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson will retain a 15 percent stake in the company, “and will remain closely involved in providing creative guidance and support of the unique combination of art, design and hospitality that defines the 21c experience,” the news release states.

Craig Greenberg will continue as 21c’s president and chief executive officer, with 21c headquarters remaining in Louisville.

The news release said that the 21c Museum Hotels will join AccorHotels MGallery collection of boutique hotels, bringing the MGallery brand to the North American market.

Kevin Frid, chief operating officer for North & Central America for AccorHotels., said that together, the two businesses “have a tremendous opportunity to grow the 21c brand, as well as introduce MGallery into the north American market, building both brand equities and further expanding the full range of unparalleled experiences for our guests.”

The 21c Museum Hotel opened Monday in Lexington in the historic Fayette National Bank Building at Main and Upper streets.

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