AccorHotels signed an agreement to acquire 85 percent of 21c Museum Hotels, an award-winning hospitality management company that melds the hotel world with a museum experience.

The 21c company features a multi-venue contemporary art museum, boutique hotels and chef-driven restaurants, with 11 properties currently open and under development across the U.S.

21c Museum Hotels will join AccorHotels' MGallery by Sofitel collection of boutique hotels, marking the introduction of the MGallery brand into the North American market.

Each MGallery property is unique in its design, from Hotel Molitor Paris – MGallery to Harbour Rocks Hotel Sydney – MGallery. Following the acquisition, 21c Museum Hotels will benefit from AccorHotels' support, according to the official press release, in terms of development opportunities, increased sales and marketing exposure, and access to one of the largest distribution networks in the industry.

AccorHotels also noted that the agreement will allow 21c Museum Hotels to retain its independent spirit. Co-founders Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson will retain a 15 percent stake in the company and they will remain closely involved. 21c Museum Hotels will also continue to be led by President and CEO Craig Greenberg.

The corporate headquarters for 21c will remain in Louisville, Kentucky.

The purchase price for the 85 percent stake in 21c Museum Hotels is $51 million, including a potential earn out payment. The transaction should be completed during the third quarter of 2018.

Statement From Kevin Frid, COO, North & Central America for AccorHotels:

"We are delighted to welcome 21c Museum Hotels as part of the AccorHotels family of brands, hence strengthening the group's footprint in North America in a very unique and promising niche.

“Together, we have a tremendous opportunity to grow the 21c brand, as well as introduce MGallery into the North American market, building both brand equities and further expanding the full range of unparalleled experiences for our guests. This strategic acquisition marks a new step in AccorHotels' strategy of being the leading player in the Luxury and Lifestyle segment in North America."

Current 21c Museum properties across the U.S. include:

  • Bentonville, Arkansas; Cincinnati; Durham, North Carolina; Kansas City, Missouri; Lexington, Kentucky; Louisville, Kentucky; Nashville, Tennessee; and Oklahoma City.

Three more properties are in development in Des Moines (Iowa); Miami and Chicago. The 21c Museum is one of the largest contemporary art museums in the U.S., and North America's only collecting museum dedicated solely to art of the 21st century. Its exhibitions and programs are free to the public.

A Little Bit of History: 21c Museum Hotels

21c Museum Hotels was founded in 2006 in Louisville by philanthropists and contemporary art collectors Brown and Wilson. The pair had seen the region's farmland and rural landscapes fall to development while the historic buildings of Louisville's downtown sat vacant.

Inspired by the idea that art can ignite urban revitalization, Brown and Wilson rehabilitated a series of 19th century warehouses in Louisville’s downtown arts district to open the first 21c Museum Hotel.

Statement From 21 c Museum Hotels Co-Founder Laura Lee Brown:

“AccorHotels is one of the world's leading hotel operators and will be a perfect partner and catalyst for 21c's continued growth. We are confident that the unique spirit of 21c will not only be preserved, but will flourish within the MGallery collection of boutique hotels.

"21c will continue to bring the work of today's most dynamic and engaging contemporary artists to the public, and this partnership will be a tremendous boost for 21c's continued development in North America and abroad."