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Oak Hill sells TravelCenters for $1.9bn

The Robert Bass-led buyout shop acquired the company, which operates travel stops along US highways, for $731m in 2000.

Oak Hill Capital Partners has sold TravelCenters of America (TA) to a Massachusetts-based REIT for $1.9 billion (€1.5 billion). Robert Bass’ buyout shop paid $731 million in 2000 for what was then said to be the largest chain of travel stop operators along US highways.

TravelCenters currently operates 161 locations in 40 states and one in Canada. A typical site includes branded restaurants, fuel stations, auto parts and convenience stores on about 20-acres adjacent or proximate to a major highway.

Massachusetts-based Hospitality Properties Trust, which owns more than 300 hotels in the US, Puerto Rico and Canada, will take the chain public, spinning out the company’s assets to form a separate corporate entity. The REIT will retain the real estate and lease it back to the new company.

“TA owns the premier network of full service travel centers in the US,” said John Murray, president of Hospitality Properties, in a statement. “TA provides an important infrastructure type service within the US transportation system, with largely irreplaceable sites along the US Interstate Highway System.”

Oak Hill expanded the number of rest stops under the company’s brand. Both Hospitality Properties and TravelCenters management have said they want to see the company continue that growth.

Oak Hill closed its second fund on $2.5 billion last year. The strong performance of the first buyout fund, said to have returned more than 50 percent, reportedly drew high-profile investors such as Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Nike founder Phil Knight to its successor.