HOTELS: Closing the Gap

At Omaha's red brick Fontenelle Hotel last week, the nation's No. 2 hotel chain concluded the second biggest deal in U.S. hotel history. Using a dime-store pen, Sheraton Corp.'s President Ernest Henderson and Vice President Robert L. Moore signed an agreement to buy the 22-hotel Eppley chain, largest and oldest personally owned hotel group in the U.S. Its 22 properties in six states range from Pittsburgh's 1,500-room William Penn to the 123-room Tallcorn in Marshalltown, Iowa. Price: $30 million. (In the biggest deal, Conrad Hilton paid $78 million for the Statler chain...

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