AccorHotels has recently confirmed that it is interested in buying a minority stake in Air France-KLM.
The company confirmed this interest in a statement that read as follows: “AccorHotels confirms having resumed its reflections on the matter, being at very early stage of assessing the feasibility and potential terms and conditions which will be discussed with Air France-KLM in due time.”
AccorHotels, which is based in France, has received coverage for this from French newspapers, which have reported that it is the French government that is contemplating selling its 14.3 percent stake in Air France-KLM, and that that is also the stake that AccorHotels is interested in buying.
Precedence for a Hotel Company Owning a Major Global Airline
Put simply, there is little, if any precedence, for a major global hotel company also owning a major global airline.
What this in turn means is that it is unclear how regulators would view AccorHotels owning even a minority stake in Air France-KLM. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be any kind of snag in the deal, but it does mean that this agreement falls into relatively unknown territory from a regulatory perspective.
Air France-KLM spokespeople have declined to comment to other news outlets about this facet of the deal. It should, however, be noted that there have long been rumors circling that suggest that Air France-KLM’s two main airlines may soon be headed for some kind of split, although Air France’s leadership has been quoted as saying that that outcome is at best unlikely.
The Future of AccorHotels
If AccorHotels does eventually purchase a minority stake in the Air France-KLM group, this would likely catapult the company up a few rungs in the pecking order, launching it into a rarified orbit along with mega brands like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, or so AccorHotels CEO Sebastien Bazin has said in public.
A stake in Air France-KLM could translate to synergies for both companies, enabling AccorHotels to more readily offer packages and services that combine its expertise in hospitality with aviation. Last year, AccorHotels partnered with a French online travel agency to offer combined flight and hotel packages primarily for its loyalty members.
Currently, AccorHotels has more than 4,300 hotels in 100 different countries worldwide and the company is continuing to grow, having just recently announced it intends to buy Movenpick Hotels & Resorts.