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Aoki Closes Westin Hotels Sale At Loss

Associated Press

Japan’s Aoki Corp. finished the $537 million sale of its Westin Hotel chain on Monday to a group of American investors who immediately installed a new chairman for the company.

Aoki’s final sale price marked a discount from the original agreement and exacerbated a big loss on its $1.53 billion investment in Westin.

Starwood Capital Group and Goldman Sachs & Co. had agreed to pay $561 million for Westin six months ago, but were able to negotiate a lower price after examining the company’s books, said Barry Sternlicht of Starwood.

The decline of the dollar vs. the Japanese yen means that Aoki’s sale price had already lost more than 10 percent of its value before the 4 percent price cut.

The buyers also announced that Juergen Bartels, chairman and chief executive of The Carlson Cos.’ hotel and restaurant operations, would head Westin. Bartels, 54, has overseen Carlson’s Radisson Hotels, T.G.I. Friday’s restaurants and other operations since 1983.

Aoki, a construction and real estate concern, acquired Westin in 1988 for $1.53 billion from Allegis Corp.

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