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Blackstone Buying MeriStar

The deal offers a 5% premium to Friday's close.
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The Blackstone Group agreed to acquire hotel real estate investment trust

MeriStar Hospitality


for $10.45 a share, or $2.6 billion.

The Bethesda, Md., REIT said the price offers a 20% premium to the date three months ago before merger speculation pumped up the stock.

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2006, pending stockholder approval and other customary closing conditions. Completion of the mergers is not subject to receipt of financing by Blackstone.

"We are pleased to have entered into this agreement and believe that the transaction represents attractive value to our shareholders," said Paul Whetsell, MeriStar's chairman and CEO.

Jonathan D. Gray, senior managing director of The Blackstone Group, said, "We are excited to acquire the company. We look forward to working with MeriStar's franchisors, managers and partners."

MeriStar remains on track to close its previously announced sale of nine hotels and one golf and tennis club to affiliates of Blackstone during the first quarter of 2006.