Hotel Data Firm STR Sold to CoStar Group for US$450m

Main Photo: The STR Global HQ in London, England

Date: October 2019

Location: Both US companies HQ’d, with global presence

Name: CoStar Group and STR

Seller: STR, formerly Smith Travel Research, created in 1985 by Randy and Carolyn Smith as a benchmarking and analytics service for hotels. It has since grown to include consulting services, market intelligence, training, forecasting and competitive analysis.

Buyer: CoStar Group, the leading provider of commercial real estate information, analytics and online marketplaces, has entered into an agreement to acquire STR for US$450m. The company was founded by CEO, Andrew Florance, in 1987

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. Overall, STR employs 370 team members in 15 countries.

CoStar says it will use the STR acquisition in the same way that it did with its purchase of Apartments.com in 2014, to integrate and extend the tools to its investor and service provider customers.

The company said: “Among many other things, STR’s information provides aggregated anonymised information on occupancy rates, average room rates, and revenue per available room.

“We believe that the combination of the two companies’ offerings will allow us to create valuable new and improved tools for investors, lenders, and service providers for use in developing, financing, valuing, and selling hotel properties.”

STR currently gets data from around 65,000 hotels in 180 countries, which then feeds into its core STARreport service.

Some 1.2 million reports are distributed every month, it claims.

STR chairman Randy Smith said: “The growth and success of STR far exceeded the expectations we had in place 34 years ago.

“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.”

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

Price: US$450m

THPT Comment: “This is no doubt a bittersweet moment,” said Jonathan Worsley, board director for STR’s international business. “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.”

First Seen: Travel Weekly

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