CoStar Group to acquire STR for $450 million

US: Real estate analytics provider CoStar Group has entered into an agreement to acquire hospitality data and marketplace anayltics firm STR.

The acquisition comprises the entire STR portfolio, including STR, Inc., headquartered in Hendersonville, Tennessee; STR Global Ltd., the company’s international business headquartered in London; Hotel News Now, the company’s digital media arm based in Cleveland; and the Hotel Data Conference, hosted each year in Nashville since 2009.

“The STR team has built an extraordinary company that partners with the hotel industry to create benchmarks and analytics that are the primary tools hotel management and investors rely on to optimise and improve their assets,” said Andrew C. Florance, founder and CEO of CoStar Group. “STR brings an unrivaled reputation within the global hospitality industry for their data integrity, reliability and strict confidentiality, and we look forward to continuing to build on these core values in the next chapter of STR’s growth.”

STR, Inc. has been a private, family-owned company since it was founded in 1985 as Smith Travel Research by Randy and Carolyn Smith. The Smith family also maintained majority ownership in STR’s international entity. Overall, STR employs 370 staff in 15 countries.

“I’ve said it many times before: The growth and success of STR far exceeded the expectations we had in place 34 years ago,” said Randy Smith, STR chairman and co-founder. “To say the results of these past three decades have been gratifying would be a great understatement. But in the end, I’ll be most proud of knowing that so many people were able to build long-lasting careers with our company-and that, as a team, we were able to make significant contributions to the advancement of the hospitality industry. While it is hard to step aside from our life’s work and the STR family, I can do that with the confidence that this move will allow the next chapter of STR to be written.”

“We are very excited to become part of CoStar,” said Amanda Hite, STR’s president and CEO. “CoStar brings leading technologies, as well as complementary data, analytics and sales capabilities that we believe will enable STR to accelerate growth and increase the value and insights we provide to our hospitality clients. This combination also represents an outstanding career opportunity for all of our employees around the world.”

Jonathan Worsley, board director for STR’s international business, said: “This is no doubt a bittersweet moment. I invested in STR through The Bench more than 10 years ago because of the potential in the company’s international expansion. STR witnessed extraordinary growth and success during that time, and whilst it is tough seeing our direct relationship come to an end, I’m excited for the future of STR under CoStar.”

The transaction, valued at $450 million in cash, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions.

Silvermark Partners acted as STR’s financial advisor. Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC acted as STR’s legal advisor.

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