GE Capital, Western Alliance Finalize Hotel Finance Loan Portfolio Sale

Western Alliance Bank has completed the acquisition of GE Capital's Franchise Finance U.S. hotel business.

By Gail Kalinoski

Robert Sarver, Western Alliance Bank
Robert Sarver, Western Alliance Bank

New YorkWestern Alliance Bank has acquired GE Capital’s U.S. hotel franchise finance loan portfolio in a deal that the Phoenix-based bank’s CEO says makes sense for the firm and its shareholders.

The price wasn’t released but Western Alliance, a wholly owned subsidiary of Western Alliance Bancorp., said the acquisition includes loans outstanding of about $1.4 billion. The purchase also includes approximately 35 former GE Capital employees who were already based in Scottsdale, Ariz. The business provides real estate financing to owners of limited service hotel properties in the United States.

“This acquisition gives Western Alliance the opportunity to establish a new presence in the attractive risk-adjusted return, select-service hotel industry,” Robert Sarver, chairman & CEO of Western Alliance, said in a prepared statement. “The exceptional underwriting and credit management strength of GE Capital’s franchise finance team, the terms of the transaction and Western Alliance’s executives’ experience in the hotel space, makes this acquisition both financially and strategically compelling on behalf of our shareholders.”

The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to Western Alliance’s earnings per share.

Announced in late March, the sale to Western Alliance was one of two deals GE Capital said it was making as part of its ongoing plan to sell most of its GE Capital assets and focus on its industrial businesses. The second deal calls for GE Capital to sell its Canadian hotel franchise finance loan portfolio to an unidentified buyer. Further details of that sale were not available.

GE Capital said the closing on the U.S. hotel lending business released approximately $200 million of capital and keeps it on track to deliver about $35 billion of dividends to GE. The company noted it has closed approximately $148 billion in ending net investments (ENI) and has signed agreements of more than $166 billion. It plans to sell more than $200 billion in ENI, according to a GE Capital news release. GE Capital expects to complete most of the transactions by the end of the year.

“We continue to make strong progress on closing our previously announced sales as we work to divest the majority of GE Capital assets,” Keith Sherin, GE Capital chairman & CEO, said in a prepared statement.

Meanwhile, Western Alliance viewed the deal as “opportunistic,” according to an article in The Arizona Republic. Sarver told the newspaper the transaction was the largest acquisition of a business line the company has made, noting it has previously bought some smaller banks.