Guy Hands dusts off his chequebook to check into German hotels

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Guy Hands

Terra Firma, the private equity firm founded and chaired by the renowned UK investor, has completed its first acquisition in four years.

According to a statement on November 2, it has acquired a portfolio of 12 hotels from German operator Haus Cramer Group.

Financial details were undisclosed but the firm used capital from a €1 billion pool – most of which is Hands’ money – to do the deal as it has not raised a dedicated buyout fund for almost a decade.

It is also Terra Firma’s first acquisition since it bought troubled residential care operator Four Seasons in 2012.

Since then, Hands has seen a number of high-profile exits and arrivals at his firm, been frustrated in his plans to raise new capital from investors and been back in court – albeit briefly – over the infamous EMI Group deal.

In June, Hands dropped a multibillion-dollar law suit in a UK court against Citigroup over the ill-fated EMI investment after just three days.

On the staffing front, former Citi banker Andrew Geczy joined as Terra Firma’s new chief executive in September, following Justin King, the former chief executive of Sainsbury, who had joined as a vice-chairman in September 2015.

Geczy replaced Tim Pryce, who stepped down in March. Meanwhile, Julie Williamson, a 20-year veteran of the firm, left in August.

The Welcome Hotels portfolio comprises of a number of three and four-star hotels across Germany that cater to business travellers and host corporate events.

A spokeswoman for Terra Firma said the deal was a “really great opportunity” to take advantage of a fragmented hotel market in Germany. She added the firm would use the investment as a platform to do more deals in the country’s hotel sector.

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