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TPG affiliate buys resort group with plans for public offering, branding

A company backed by an affiliate of Fort Worth and San Francisco-based private equity firm TPG is buying Playa Hotels & Resorts BV, creating a publicly listed company with an expected enterprise value of about $1.75 billion, the companies announced Dec. 13. The transaction will be a catalyst to accelerate Playa’s growth strategy by providing $500 million of additional capital and access to the public markets.

Pace Holdins Corp., an affiliate of TPG, is a special purpose acquisition company that trades on the NASDAQ under the PACE symbol.

Playa has approximately 6,142 rooms across its 13 locations, owning and operating all-inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Mexico. In 2013, Playa entered into a strategic partnership with Hyatt to create two all-inclusive brands under the Hyatt name, Hyatt Ziva and Hyatt Zilara, with Playa as the sole franchisee. Playa operates six Hyatt resorts across Mexico and Jamaica.

According to the news release, the trassaction will be “a catalyst to accelerate Playa’s growth strategy by providing $500 million of additional capital and accesss to public markets to strengthen its balance sheet, pursue acquisitions, and enhance distribution — all furthering the company’s leading position in an emerging, high-growth sector.

Playa’s management team, led by Chairman and CEO Bruce Wardinski, will continue to run the company post-transaction. Pace President and CEO Karl Peterson, along with two other members designated by Pace, will join the company’s board.

“When we formed Pace, our objective was to identify a great company that was ready to enter the public arena and had a business plan that we could help accelerate by providing insights, support, and greater access to capital,” said Peterson, also a TPG partner. “We believe that Playa is the perfect fit for this mandate. Bruce has built an exceptional company that is creating a new standard for quality and innovation in the all-inclusive resort segment. Over the years, my partners and I have witnessed first-hand his successful leadership in the hospitality space. We look forward to working with Bruce and his team to grow the company, most immediately through accessing growth capital and addressing consumer-direct sales opportunities.”

BofA Merrill Lynch acted as exclusive financial advisor to Playa. Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. and Citigroup served as financial and capital markets advisors to Pace. Hogan Lovells acted as the legal advisor to Playa and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP acted as the legal advisor to Pace.

Investor materials, including a copy of the investor presentation, can be found at www.tpg.com/platforms/paceholdings.

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Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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