TUI Group’s shift from an asset heavy to an asset light model has picked up pace with the sale of its 49% stake in its RIU hotel property joint venture to the founding Riu family.
The deal will net TUI around €670 million including earn out and covers 19 properties and two sites under development.
The Riu family already holds a 51% stake in these properties and will now become its sole owner.
TUI and RIU will be maintaining a close working relationship thanks to their 50/50 stake in RIUSA II S.A., the company that manages the RIU brand hotels.
The decision also fits with TUI’s recent asset-light u-turn. It was only a few years ago that CEO Fritz Joussen was talking up the benefits of being a yielding rather than a trading business. The sell off pre-dates the pandemic but no doubt the money raised will help shore up the company’s finances.
“TUI is thus strengthening its core business with holiday experiences - and in particular the development, operation and marketing of hotel and holiday brands,” the company said in a statement.
“The group intends to grow primarily with its international hotel brands TUI Blue, RIU, Robinson, TUI Magic Life and the management of these hotels, but in doing so will tie up less capital in property and real estate in the future.”
TUI in essence wants to do in the world of resorts what Hilton, Marriott and others have done in other parts of hospitality: grow the brand not through property ownership but through operating and franchising a brand or brands.