TravelCenters of America to be bought for $1.9 billion

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TravelCenters of America announced today, Sept. 18, that it has entered into an agreement with Hospitality Properties Trust, under which HPT would purchase TA for about $1.9 billion. TravelCenters expects business to continue as usual at its 162 locations in 40 states and Canada during the transition period.

Hospitality Properties Trust — headquartered in Newton, Mass. — is a real estate investment trust, or REIT, which currently owns 310 hotels located throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and Ontario, Canada. TA currently expects the transaction to close in early 2007. HPT has arranged interim financing from Merrill Lynch & Co., and currently anticipates obtaining long-term financing by the issuance of both debt and equity securities.

“We are pleased to have this opportunity to undertake the transactions announced today,” says John Murray, HPT president. “We believe TA is the premier full-service network in the country, and we look forward to the continuance of its track record of providing value to its stakeholders.”

TA was acquired by Oak Hill Capital Partners, L.P., a private equity investment group and other investors — including TA management and Freightliner — in 2000. Previously, the company was owned by a group of institutional investors led by the Clipper Group as well as TA management and Freightliner. In May, TA reaffirmed its commitment to continued growth by seeking a new major investor to help finance its strategies, which include additional locations and an increase in the number of shop bays.

“We are very pleased to announce this latest step in the evolution of our company,” says Tim Doane, president and chief executive officer of Westlake, Ohio-based TA. “We anticipate a bright future for TravelCenters of America and are excited about the opportunities these changes will bring to us and our customers. Over the last decade, TA’s steady growth has continually rewarded the financial support and confidence of our major investors. We are pleased to announce the plan for this new structure, as we believe it will provide TA with the opportunity and resources to provide enhanced services at expanded locations to all our customers.”