Starwood joins the hunt for De Vere… For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

02 May 2006
Starwood joins the hunt for De Vere… For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Starwood joins the hunt for De Vere
The battle for control of De Vere is set to intensify after a takeover approach from Starwood Capital, one of the world's largest hotel operators. Starwood, which owns chains including Sheraton and Le MeridienSunday Times, 30 April

Pizza chain threatened by legal action over franchise promises
A number of former and would-be franchisees of the Godfather's Pizza chain in Ireland are threatening legal action over their projected returns, but the company categorically denies misleading them. One of the disgruntled franchisees claims that operational costs at its unit were 22% higher than originally suggested by the parent company. - Irish Independent, 29 April.

Plan for history theme parks in Scotland and Kent
Robin Hardy, the director of the cult Scottish film The Wicker Man, plans a global chain of history theme parks in Scotland. The park will tell the stories of Mary Queen of Scots and the lives of the country's great inventors, as well as exploring the origins of Scots music and language. He is also searching for a site in Kent where he hopes to tell the stories of the English queens and re-create a 3D exhibit about Dunkirk. - Sunday Times (Scottish edition), April 30

Scotland screw tightens on smoking and outdoor drinking
Drinking is to be banned in parks and other Scottish open air venues in the latest knock-on result of the smoking ban. Local authorities want to crack down on drinking al-fresco amid public order fears over pub-goers taking their pints outside when they go for a cigarette. - Scotland on Sunday, April 30

VisitScotland push further into internet marketing VisitScotland is to establish a new media division to take advantage of the latest developments in the internet, mobile technology and video-on-demand television. The unit will be tasked with producing tourism-related content for these new channels of communication, as well as brokering deals with such companies as Google, Sky TV, Telewest and Expedia, to ensure it is prominently represented. - Sunday Herald, 30 April

Easyjet plan to expand Easyhotel concept Stelios Haji-Ioannou is set to announce an international expansion of his Easyhotel operation. He has agreed a licensing deal with Istithmar, an investment vehicle owned by the Dubai government, to open up to 38 hotels in 20 countries across the Middle East, North Africa and India. - Sunday Times, 30 April

€100m plan for new Dublin 400-bed hotel
Liam and Des O'Dwyer, the brothers who own the Capital Bars chain of pubs and hotels in Ireland, are planning to spend €100m (£69m) building a 400-bed hotel on a site in Dublin. This will be one of Ireland's biggest hotels when it opens in 2009. - Sunday Times (Irish edition), 30 April.

US chain looks to buy ailing UK restaurant chains
Brinker International, the American catering giant, is looking to acquire ailing British restaurant chains and to open as many as 100 restaurants in the UK. The £1.9b group, with more than 1,500 restaurants under four brands in America, wants to expand its Chili's Grill & Bar and Romano's Macaroni Grill outlets in Europe after buying back the UK franchise last year. - The Times, 1 May

Tchenguiz scrambles to find M&B big funding
Property entrepreneur Robert Tchenguiz is in urgent talks with several private equity firms to raise an extra £200m of equity to fund his R20 consortium's planned bid for pub group Mitchells & Butlers. Mr Tchenguiz has a week to come up with a formal offer for M&B after the Takeover Panel imposed a "put up or shut up" deadline of 8 May. Any bid is likely to value M&B at no less than £2.7b. - Daily Telegraph, 1 May

Plane crashes into Scottish hotel
A pilot and his passenger escaped with slight injuries after their microlight aircraft got into difficulty at take-off and crashed into a Borders hotel. The plane had just taken off from the village green in St Boswells, Roxburghshire, and crossed the busy A68 road when it hit a floodlight pylon at the Buccleuch Arms Hotel. - The Scotsman, 1 May

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