The global hospitality group Accor has announced its intention, subject to market conditions, to sponsor a Corporate Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) — the Accor Acquisition Company (AAC) — to be listed on Euronext Paris. AAC aims to raise approximately €300m.
Accor’s objective in creating the Accor Acquisition Company (AAC) is external growth of its core hotel activity. The future AAC’s task will be to better serve Accor’s hotel owners and customers by providing high quality and recognisable services and brands in any of five verticals. They all complement Accor’s core hotel business, namely:
• food and beverage;
• flexible working;
• entertainment & events;
• travel technology.
AAC’s target company will benefit from Accor’s network, scale and global presence. The AAC arrives at a time where the hotel group is reinventing itself. In a recent interview on a French television network, Accor CEO Sébastien Bazin (pictured above) stated that the Covid crisis had unleashed new trends and forces in the hotel industry. “There is a new recognition for better efficiency but also more humanity in our business,” he explained.
“We understand that the success of our lifestyle brands are a good example. People come there not just to sleep and take a shower but also because they want to learn more about surrounding communities and different cultures. We need to now put together the passions and interests of our working teams with the ones of our guests. We are entering a more sophisticated world. And we need to response to it,” he added.
For Bazin, moving into another business complementary to Accor’s hotel business will target the group’s “invisible” guests. “There are 1.5 billion international travellers from a total of almost 8 billion people on earth. I want to target the 6.5 billion to whom our hotels never targeted: They are the people living around in our cities who do not need to go to a hotel,” stressed the Accor Group CEO.
A promising business opportunity would be “flexoffice” solutions: “We have the experience to welcome and take care of people. Identifying and welcoming guests who just want to work for a few hours in a bedroom, in a restaurant or a cafe inside one of our hotels represents an gigantic business opportunity,” said Bazin.
This is what Accor already designates as “augmented hospitality” defined by infinite connected moments.
Anticipating a new hotel world
AAC will be led by Amir Nahai (fully dedicated Managing Director) and supported by three senior Accor executives: Pierre Boisselier (CFO), Nicolas Broussaud (CIO) and Besma Boumaza (Chief Legal Officer). Accor’s investment in AAC will however not be material.
Accor will continue to be single-handedly focused on delivering its “Reset” cost savings plan, fully capturing the market rebound and profitably growing its asset light management and franchise hotel operations.
Accor is the first French group to launch a Spac. Until now, the two Spac launched in France, Mediawam and then 2MX Organic, had been launched by investors (Xavier Niel, Mathieu Pigasse, Pierre-Antoine Capton and Moez-Alexandre Zouari).
The AAC is thus a logical step for the hospitality group. Accor today consists of more than 5,100 properties and 10,000 food and beverage venues throughout 110 countries.