GLOBAL - Hilton Hotels could de-list early next year after Blackstone last week agreed to acquire the hospitality group for $26bn (€19bn).

Asked about the NYSE-listed firm's stated plans to reinvest in its new assets, Blackstone corporate communications senior vice-president John Ford said: "It's impossible to give details about plans for a company that is still in the public arena."

The firm said it planned to invest in the properties, in line with its track record of spending on acquisitions.

It previously spent $1bn on redeveloping 21 LXR properties, including 14 it took possession of in 2005 when it acquired Wyndham International.

Details of its value-adding plans are scarce, though Ford pointed out Blackstone "does a lot of refurbishment in hotels, if they need it, before selling them on".

That said, immediate sell-offs are unlikely as the group said in a statement: "Blackstone views Hilton as an important strategic investment; no significant divestitures are envisaged as a result of this transaction."

The all-cash deal will make Blackstone the world's largest hospitality firm, giving it control over an additional 480,000 hotel rooms in 80 markets.

The US private equity group has already built up a portfolio of 100,000 rooms - "ranging from mid-scale to luxury" - in the US and Europe over the past 15 years.

This latest deal is expected to close in Q4 2007 once it receives approval from Hilton shareholders and the competition authorities. Asked whether he expected resistance from Hilton shareholders, the spokesman said: "I wish I knew - but I don't. We'll have to wait to see how it pans out."