Amazon names 20 finalists in race for second headquarters

Amazon names 20 finalists in race for second headquarters

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Amazon names 20 finalists in race for second headquarters

Shares of Amazon.com (AMZN) are in focus in morning trading after the company shortlisted 20 metropolitan areas for its new headquarters.

Among the candidates are New York City, Boston, Toronto, and Atlanta.

AMAZON NARROWS CHOICES FOR NEW HQ

Amazon on Thursday announced a narrowed down list of 20 metropolitan cities for its planned second headquarters.

The finalists, whittled down from 283 places that applied in October, include New York City, Boston, Atlanta and Chicago, which all have access to airports and mass transportation.

Other candidates include Dallas, Columbus, Denver, Newark, Philadelphia, Miami, Washington D.C., Toronto, Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville and Indianapolis.

Amazon said it expects to create as many as 50,000 jobs that will be “high-paying” and generate more than $5B in investments over the next 10-15 years.

In addition to Amazon’s direct hiring and investment, construction and ongoing operation of Amazon HQ2 is expected to create tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in additional investment in the surrounding community, Amazon said.

In a statement, Holly Sullivan of Amazon Public Policy, said that “getting from 238 to 20 was very tough — all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity. Through this process we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation.”

WHAT’S NOTABLE

Amazon solicited proposals in September for its second corporate headquarters.

In its request for proposals, Amazon said it was looking for a metro area with at least 1M residents, proximity to an international airport, mass transit and amenities that give it the “potential to attract and retain strong technical talent.”

The company plans to make a decision this year and will continue discussions with the 20 finalists, it said.

Amazon is also planning to grow in Seattle. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal in late 2017, Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s CEO of Worldwide Consumer, said the company planned to add 2M square feet and 6,000 people over 12 months to the Seattle headquarters.

RECENT TRUMP COMMENTS

President Donald Trump tweeted critically about the company on December 29, calling on the U.S. Postal Service to charge the online retailing giant “much more” for shipping.

Trump tweeted, “Why is the United States Post Office, which is losing many billions of dollars a year, while charging Amazon and others so little to deliver their packages, making Amazon richer and the Post Office dumber and poorer? Should be charging MUCH MORE!”

Stockwinners.com believers Toronto will be the winning city, given Trump’s hostile immigration policy. Amazon hires a large number of technical staff from other countries and an immigration-friendly policy of Canada makes a lot of sense for the company. The company already has a huge presence in that city.


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Wyndham acquires La Quinta hotel for $1.95B

Wyndham acquires La Quinta hotel for $1.95B

Wyndham acquires La Quinta hotel for $1.95B. Stockwinners.com
Wyndham acquires La Quinta hotel for $1.95B.

Wyndham Worldwide (WYN) and La Quinta (LQ) announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Wyndham Worldwide will acquire La Quinta’s hotel franchise and hotel management businesses for $1.95B in cash.

The acquisition is expected to close in Q2 of 2018.

Under the terms of the agreement, stockholders of La Quinta will receive $8.40 per share in cash, approximately $1.0 billion in aggregate, and Wyndham Worldwide will repay approximately $715 million of La Quinta debt net of cash and set aside a reserve of $240 million for estimated taxes expected to be incurred in connection with the taxable spin-off of La Quinta’s owned real estate assets into CorePoint Lodging Inc.

Immediately prior to the sale of La Quinta to Wyndham Worldwide, La Quinta will spin off its owned real estate assets into a publicly-traded real estate investment trust, CorePoint Lodging. Wyndham’s Hotel Group is the world’s largest and most diverse hotel business based on number of properties.

With the acquisition of La Quinta’s asset-light, fee-for-service business consisting of nearly 900 managed and franchised hotels, Wyndham Hotel Group will span 21 brands and over 9,000 hotels across more than 75 countries.

The addition of La Quinta, one of the largest midscale brands in the industry, will build upon Wyndham Hotel Group’s strong midscale presence, expand its reach further into the fast-growing upper-midscale segment, and position Wyndham Hotel Group to be the preferred partner and accommodations provider of developers and guests.

The La Quinta Returns loyalty program, with its 13 million enrolled members, will be combined with the award-winning Wyndham Rewards program, with its 53 million enrolled members.

The transaction, which has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies, is expected to close upon the completion of the planned spin-off of La Quinta’s owned real estate assets into the separate entity.

Closing is subject to approval by La Quinta stockholders, regulatory and government approval and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.

La Quinta also announced today that Keith A. Cline has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of CorePoint Lodging effective upon completion of the planned spin-off.

Wyndham Worldwide’s planned spin-off of Wyndham Hotel Group remains on track for an expected distribution in the second quarter of 2018.

LQ closed at $19.45. WYN closed at $117.13.


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