Hilton Hotels Corporation has received a $26bn (£12.9bn) takeover approach from Blackstone. The Times. Financial Times. The Independent

Hilton has 2,800 hotels and 485,000 rooms in 76 countries and territories. Like hotel operators, it has sold most of its property to focus on managing and franchising, but it owns about 50 hotels, including the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.

Blackstone’s offer is understood to be worth $47.50 a share, which values Hilton at $20bn before about $6bn of debt.

The private equity firm wants to merge Hilton with its existing hotel businesses, La Quinta and Wyndham, which have a total of 100,000 rooms.

Rumours of the sale sent Hilton shares up by 6.4% to $36.05 yesterday, valuing it at $14bn, or $21bn including debt.

In April Hilton announced a sale of 10 European hotel properties to Morgan Stanley Real Estate Funds for $770m and completed the disposal of Scandic Hotels, the Nordic operator, to EQT, a Stockholm private equity firm, for $1.1bn.