It’s been a good couple of years to be a Hilton.
Last year the company, mostly now owned by private equity firm Blackstone, went public in a massive $US2.35 billion IPO — the biggest for a hotel company ever.
Just this month, the company sold New York City’s Waldorf Astoria to a Chinese insurance company for an eye-popping $US1.95 billion.
Plus it seems Paris Hilton has really taken to her new calling as a DJ.
It’s a lot of great success and of course it didn’t come out of thin air. The Hilton family brand is a dynasty generations in the making.
This is the story of how it all started.
He served as a lieutenant in France with allied forces in the Quartermaster Corps, responsible for supplying fuel, food, clothes, and household items to the army. Quartermasters also identified and cared for dead soldiers.
He was discharged from the army in 1919 after his father died in a car accident.
It still has the old signage, and two rooms have been preserved since 1919. It hosts the Cisco Chamber of Commerce and a room for special events like weddings.
Source: Cisco Chamber of Commerce
He grew his holdings, and in 1954, Conrad made the largest purchase in real estate history at the time.
The Statler Hotel company sold for $US111,000,000 and it was the biggest transaction ever in the hotel industry. He called himself 'the innkeeper of the world.'
He then added more jewels to the Hilton crown, like the Stevens Hotel in Chicago, then the world's largest, and the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. Hilton also acquired an international gaming company and created the world's first international hotel chain.
It was his longstanding ambition to own the hotel, but at first its owner didn't want to sell it to someone who had other business interests. The New York State Realty and Terminal Company owned the land and was also concerned that he would run it down.
He lobbied with the company anyway.
After several months, Conrad found out that someone else was interested in buying the hotel. He decided to use his own money instead of Hilton Hotel Corporation's. One of the majority stockholders agreed to his proposal to buy 249,024 shares of stock at $US12 a share.
In the end, he paid $US3 million for about 69% of Waldorf and gradually increased his share to 10%.
The legendary hotel is a landmark building in New York and has hosted every president since Herbert Hoover.
Hilton has collected some even more impressive holdings since then -- like the Conrad Maldives, which has a restaurant under the sea.
The hotel is spread across two islands in the Indian Ocean that can only be crossed by a 30-minute seaplane flight. There's also an underground wine cellar with 20,000 bottles.
Source: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
Some rooms in this hotel in South Africa are built directly on the edge of a cliff. CNBC named the Conrad Pezula hotel 'the best property in the world' in 2008 and Nelson Mandela was its first guest that same year.
Source: City Press
Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor was his second wife.
Gabor has had nine husbands - she divorced seven times and had one marriage annulled. She's quoted as once saying: 'I am a marvellous housekeeper: Every time I leave a man I keep his house.'
In 2009, it emerged that she lost $US10 million through Bernie Madoff's company.
USE THIS SLIDE TO TALK ABOUT ALL THREE KIDS. DON'T MOVE IT.
He joined the New York office of Eastdil Secured and later founded Hilton Realty Investment in 1984.
With Jeffrey Hyland, he formed the real estate firm Hilton & Hyland in 1993. Several of their salespeople were part of the reality TV show Million Dollar Listing.
Source: State of California,
Barron contested his father's will and received 4 million shares of the hotel.
In 1966 he became Chairman of the board, president and CEO of the company. His charitable remainder unitrust received 6 million shares of Hilton, and 3.5 million went to Conrad's foundation.
Source: The Guardian
Barron's sixth child Richard is their father.
Paris was born in New York and split her childhood between the city and Beverly Hills.
After seeing photos of herself in the New York Post's 'best dressed' fashion section, she signed with Donald Trump's agency, T Management. She was part of New York Fashion Week, and modelled for various designer brands.
Source: Paris Hilton: A Biography
The footage with Ricky Salomon leaked on the internet and the following April, he sold the rights to an adult film studio. After several lawsuits, Salomon and the company agreed to pay Paris $US400,000.
Her first big screen role was as co-star on the Fox reality series about socialites called This Simple Life. She's since starred in about 13 reality TV shows and 22 feature films, and performed seven movie roles as herself.
She's also launched several businesses including a beach club in Manila, a jewelry line, and a perfume range.
The Blackstone Group bought Hilton Hotels for $US47.40 a share, 40% more than its closing price the previous day. The deal included $US7.5 billion in debt.
It was the second largest transaction Blackstone ever made, and gave them ownership of nearly 4,000 hotels.
Bloomberg called it 'the best leveraged buyout ever.'
The IPO raised nearly $US2.4 billion from the sale of 117.6 million shares.
Hilton was initially priced at $US20 a share, just above the midpoint of the expected range. The IPO was run by Deutsche Bank, Goldman, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley.
Source: The New York Times
Anbang Insurance Group approached Hilton before the hotel was up for sale and beat out at least two other bidders for the purchase. It was the largest sale of a hotel.
Hilton Worldwide will continue to manage the 1232-room hotel for 100 years as part of the agreement. It was in need of an upgrade, and Hilton decided it was better to sell off the property than to pay for the renovations.
The family reportedly owns a ranch with its own landing strip in Costa Rica where police seized 400 kilos of cocaine in August.
In 2009, Paris bought a $US3.2 million home in London just steps away from Amy Winehouse.
Some Hiltons reportedly still live on the original family farm in Norway.
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