CoStar Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSGP), the leading provider of commercial real estate information, analytics and online marketplaces, has entered into an agreement to acquire STR, a leader in data benchmarking, analytics and marketplace insights for global hospitality sectors.
The acquisition comprises the entire STR portfolio, including STR, Inc., headquartered in Hendersonville, Tennessee; STR Global Ltd., the company’s international business headquartered in London; Hotel News Now, the company’s digital media arm based in Cleveland; and the Hotel Data Conference, hosted each year in Nashville since 2009.
“The STR team has built an extraordinary company that partners with the hotel industry to create benchmarks and analytics that are the primary tools hotel management and investors rely on to optimize and improve their assets,” said Andrew C. Florance, Founder and CEO of CoStar Group. “STR brings an unrivaled reputation within the global hospitality industry for their data integrity, reliability and strict confidentiality, and we look forward to continuing to build on these core values in the next chapter of STR’s growth.”
STR, Inc. has been a private, family-owned company since its 1985 founding as then “Smith Travel Research” by Randy and Carolyn Smith. The Smith family also maintained majority ownership in STR’s international entity. Overall, STR employs 370 team members in 15 countries.
“I’ve said it many times before: The growth and success of STR far exceeded the expectations we had in place 34 years ago,” said Randy Smith, STR chairman and co-founder. “To say the results of these past three decades have been gratifying would be a great understatement. But in the end, I’ll be most proud of knowing that so many people were able to build long-lasting careers with our company—and that, as a team, we were able to make significant contributions to the advancement of the hospitality industry. While it is hard to step aside from our life’s work and the STR family, I can do that with the confidence that this move will allow the next chapter of STR to be written.”
“We are very excited to become part of CoStar,” said Amanda Hite, STR’s President and CEO. “CoStar brings leading technologies, as well as complementary data, analytics and sales capabilities that we believe will enable STR to accelerate growth and increase the value and insights we provide to our hospitality clients. This combination also represents an outstanding career opportunity for all of our employees around the world.”
The hotel industry has been the cornerstone of STR’s business from its founding. Today, the company processes, analyzes and reports on data from 66,000 hotels representing 8.9 million rooms in 180 countries. In recent years, STR expanded its reach to explore solutions across additional hospitality segments. The company, which works with every major hotel chain and many independent owners and operators around the globe, has been credited with delivering a number of innovative solutions that have advanced various disciplines within the industry, produced market trend transparency and attracted investment capital to the sector.
“This is no doubt a bittersweet moment,” said Jonathan Worsley, board director for STR’s international business. “I invested in STR through The Bench more than 10 years ago because of the potential in the company’s international expansion. STR witnessed extraordinary growth and success during that time, and whilst it is tough seeing our direct relationship come to an end, I’m excited for the future of STR under CoStar.”
The transaction, valued at $450 million in cash, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions. Silvermark Partners acted as STR’s financial advisor. Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC acted as STR’s legal advisor.