Carlson, European Partner Unveil Unified Brand

Carlson Hotels and its Brussels, Belgium-based partner The Rezidor Group will now operate as the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.

Carlson Hotels, a subsidiary of Minnetonka-based Carlson, and its European partner The Rezidor Group announced Wednesday that they will now market themselves under a single brand: Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.

Brussels, Belgium-based Rezidor is a hotel developer and operator that manages many of Carlson's hotel brands in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Carlson has invested in Rezidor since 2005, when it bought 25 percent ownership in the company. Carlson increased its ownership to 35 percent in 2006, 41.7 percent in 2007, and 44.4 percent in 2009. Since May 2010, it has owned 50.03 percent of Rezidor's shares. The two companies said that while their brands are merging, their ownership structures will remain the same.

The companies will, however, change their Web sites, logos, brochures, employee e-mail addresses, employee business cards, Intranet sites, and stationery to reflect the new unified brand. The companies' new Web site, CarlsonRezidor.com, will launch February 1.

“Carlson and Rezidor have a long, common history and have grown together over the past 17 years,” Carlson President and CEO Hubert Joly said in a statement. “Going to market as one is a next and natural step. We are leveraging the strengths of two great companies to create value for all our stakeholders.”

In 1994, Rezidor was named master franchisee for the Radisson brand in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Subsequent agreements expanded Rezidor's franchise rights to include Carlson's Country Inns & Suites, Park Inn, and Regent.

In 2011, Carlson and Rezidor together had a total of 1,319 hotels operating or under development in 80 countries. The same year, the two companies' system-wide sales-which includes revenues for the companies' franchisees-totaled $7 billion.

Rezidor's President and CEO Kurt Ritter said in a statement that the goal of the unification is to be perceived by business partners around the world as one global hotel company and to “generate more attractive financial results.”

The two companies said that through combined initiatives, the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group aims to generate more than $400 million in additional revenue by 2015.

Rezidor is a public company listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange since November 2006. The company's name on the exchange will not change as a result of the brand unification.

Carlson, a hospitality and travel company, is Minnesota's third-largest private company based on its revenue, which is estimated to exceed $4.13 billion. Carlson's brands include Radisson, Country Inns & Suites, Park Inn, Park Plaza, and Hotel Missoni.