Who owns Radisson Hotels? Behind the hotel’s ever-changing ownership

Radisson Hotels Kaunas

The Radisson Hotel Group, one of the most iconic and recognizable hotel brands worldwide, has undergone many ownership changes during its over 100-year history, with most coming in the past decade. The ownership changes haven’t affected Radisson’s status, growth, or revenue.

The high revenues shouldn’t be surprising considering that the group operates nine brands: Park Inn by Radisson, Radisson, Radisson Collection, Radisson RED, Radisson Blu, Radisson Individuals, Park Plaza, Suites by Radisson and prizeotel, and Country Inn. 

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  • Edna Dickerson spent $1.5 million to build the first Radisson hotel in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the early 20th century.
  • The Carlson Company’s acquisition of Radisson in the early 1960s sparked the hotels’ expansion across America. 
  • Carlson’s franchise agreement with SAS International Hotels introduced the Radisson brand to markets in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. 
  • HNA Group renamed the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group to Radisson Hotel Group after acquiring the company in 2016. 
  • HNA Group sold Radisson to its current owners, Jin Jiang, in 2018 due to pressure from its creditors. 

Radisson hotel was founded in Minneapolis in the early 20th century and acquired by the Carlson Company in the 1960s

In the early 20th century, Edna Dickerson traveled from Chicago to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to collect her inheritance. On the advice of local business leaders, she invested $1.5 million into constructing a high-end luxury hotel dubbed Radisson. 

Dickerson named the hotel after 17th-century French explorer Pierre-Esprit Radisson. The sixteen-story building was the second-tallest building in Minneapolis at the time. It picked staff from the top hotels on the Eastern seaboard and brought them to Minneapolis. 

The hotel originally opened in 1909 and marks the first hotel for the Radisson brand.

Edna and her husband, Simon Kruse, managed the hotel from their 13th-floor residence. They ran the hotel until a mortgage company acquired the chain in 1934. 

It remains unclear when Curt Carlson of the Carlson Company acquired the Radisson hotel: some sources allege the acquisition happened in 1960; others, in 1962. Nevertheless, Carlson Company took over Radisson in the early 1960s and started the hotel’s expansion across America. 

By 1984, the then-family-run hotel had 32 locations. The original Radisson was demolished in 1982, with the company building Minneapolis’ Radisson on another site. 

The Carlson Company merged with SAS International Hotels to expand Radisson to Europe

In 1986, the Carlson Company and SAS International Hotels merged to bring Radisson to Europe. In 1994, the two companies signed a franchise agreement that allowed SAS International Hotels to manage the Radisson brand in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. 

It created the co-brand Radisson SAS, which was later renamed Radisson Blu. In 2006, SAS International Hotels changed its name to Rezidor Hotel Group. Via the 2005 franchise agreement, Carlson acquired a 25% stake in Rezidor, and Rezidor secured franchise rights lasting until 2052. 

Carlson became the parent company of Rezidor Hotel group in 2010. Two years later, the enlarged hotel group started trading as Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. 

The Carlson Rezidor Hotel group started four years of expansion and acquisitions, introducing the Radisson Red and Quorvus Collection brands and acquiring a 49% stake in the German hotel chain prizeotel. 

Carlson Rezidor morphed into the Radisson Hotel Group after HNA acquired the company in 2016

The sale of Carlson Rezidor came months after the Wall Street Journal reported that the owners were considering a sale or a merger. 

In April 2016, a unit of the HNA Group agreed to buy the Carlson Rezidor Hotels. HNA Tourism Group acquired 100% of the Carlson Hotels and its majority stake in Rezidor Hotel Group. 

In late 2017, Carlson Hotels, Inc. was renamed Radisson Hospitality, Inc., while the Rezidor Hotel Group was renamed Radisson Hospitality AB. The new company started trading as Radisson Hotel Group, bringing its most recognizable brand to the forefront of its operations. 

HNA Tourism Group undertook a significant reshuffle of the company’s hierarchy, appointing John Kidd as the CEO of Radisson Hospitality, Inc., and Federico González Tejera as the CEO of Radisson Hospitality AB. 

Federico J. González is the CEO of Radisson Hotel Group (RHG)

Federico said the group had a five-year plan that involved continued expansion and improvement of its services. Tejera said:

“Over the next five years, we will build on our unique service heritage of making every moment matter for our guests, owners, shareholders and employees by being a true host and best partner.”

“Success of our five-year operating plan means that whenever a guest plans a trip, whenever an investor or owner thinks of a partner, whenever a person wants to work in hospitality—they will all think of our company first.”

However, it gradually began to seem like Radisson would execute its five-year strategy with another owner. HNA Group’s seemingly unrestrained buying spree had become unsustainable due to its growing debt. 

Per Bloomberg, the group told its creditors it was targeting to sell assets worth 100 billion yuan in the first half of 2018. 

Chinese consortium Jin Jiang acquired Radisson Hotel in 2018

Facing mounting pressure to pay its debts, HNA Group sold Radisson to the Chinese consortium Jin Jiang in 2018. Aplite Holdings AB facilitated Jin Jiang’s acquisition of 50.21% of Radisson’s shares. 

“This marks yet another incredible milestone in our company’s storied history and one that I’m confident will elevate Radisson Hotel Group to a new level of strength as a global leader in the hospitality industry,” John Kidd, Radisson Hospitality’s CEO, said via a press release

Kidd said that being owned by the fifth largest hotel company in the world would open Radisson up to a more extensive clientele. He continued:

“This type of size, coupled with the record number of Chinese consumers traveling abroad, provides a number of new opportunities for Radisson Hotel Group.”

Kidd expressed faith in Jin Jiang’s commitment to ‘improve and execute’ Radisson’s five-year plan.

The Swedish Takeover Act obligated Jin Jiang to launch a mandatory tender offer of the outstanding shares or sell down its ownership to below 30% within a month of the acquisition. 

Choice Hotels acquired the franchise business of Radisson Hotels Group Americas in June 2022

Choice Hotels and Radisson Hotels Group Americas

In June 2022, Choice Hotels announced it had acquired ‘the franchise business, operations and intellectual property of Radisson Hotel Group Americas for approximately $675 million.’ The acquisition affected hotels in the United States, Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean. 

Patrick Pacious, CEO of Choice Hotels, said: “This transaction brings together two highly complementary businesses, enhancing our guest offerings in the core upper-midscale hospitality segments, while extending our reach into the upper upscale and upscale full-service segments and in higher revenue geographic markets.”

Federico Gonzalez, CEO of Radisson Hotel Group, said the deal fit with the transformation plan it adopted in 2017:

“We are confident that Choice Hotels is the owner with the right long-term strategy, resources and management team to successfully accelerate the growth of the Radisson business in the Americas.”