Blackstone's record speaks for itself with respect to major lodging and/or real estate acquisitions, as seen in the timeline chart below. The company is efficient to a fault when it comes to assisting its target expedite proxy statements and other regulatory filings, and very rarely encounters significant delays in obtaining regulatory approvals or completing deals in a timely fashion.
In general, the only factors that tend to slow a Blackstone deal are: 1) other pending transactions, and 2) internal issues with the target company. Presently, Blackstone is engaged in the BMET transaction, which it should wrap up this week, and the ADS transaction which should move along relatively smoothly, although there are some tedious regulatory matters involved. Presumably, Blackstone's legal staff will not be required to much work in the ADS situation now that the necessary applications have been filed and the processes are under way. Yet, this must be considered a timing factor in the HLT merger for practical purposes.
The regulatory outlook for this deal is currently positive. HSR clearance should be obtained with little difficulty, despite Blackstone's apparent attempt to corner the hotel market in recent years. Obviously, no one entity can dominate the hotel industry at this time, so the FTC should have no interest in this deal, regardless of its size and impact on the industry.
HLT's history with the SEC is relatively clean. There company's 2006 Q1 required a single revision, but other than that there have been absolutely no encounters with the regulator over the last five years. In other words, the SEC review will be very swift in this deal and can be expected to go no longer than 45 days if a review waiver is not granted.
A secondary issue has developed concerning shareholder opposition to the merger. At this point, the shareholder issues a viewed as insignificant and will almost certainly be handled without much difficulty. There's very little to add to this matter at the current time.
In short, there is no reason to expect this deal to vary greatly from Blackstone's other major acquisitions in terms of timing. It would not be at all surprising to see the deal close in early/mid-October 2007, at the latest.
Disclosure: We have no positions of any kind, in any security. We are a completely neutral source of research and analysis.