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Rivelsrud family to sell Rica Hotels to Scandic

Jan E. Rivelsrud and family have signed an agreement to sell Rica Hotels to Scandic. Rica and Scandic will form the leading hotel group in the Nordic region. The Rivelsrud family will continue to be involved in the hotel industry through its property-holding company Rica Eiendom.

Published: 2/11/2014

- In Scandic, we have found an excellent owner and partner for Rica. Together, the companies will form the leading hotel group in the Nordic region by far, and have an excellent basis for continued strong growth and investment in the tourism industry. Rica and Scandic complement one another geographically, and together will offer guests a wider range of options. While Rica is strong in Norway, Scandic’s strength lies in the other Scandinavian countries. All Rica and Scandic employees give the highest priority to excellent customer service, and work hard every day to give guests a positive hotel experience, says Rica founder Jan E. Rivelsrud.

Rica Hotels AS (Rica), which is owned by the Rivelsrud family-held company JGR Holding AS, owns 48 own-brand hotels and 24 franchise hotels across Norway and Sweden. The company is growing, and will open Rica Ørnen Hotel in Bergen and Rica Havet Hotel in Bodø in 2014. Rica’s own-brand hotels employ around 3,000 persons and turn over approximately NOK 2.6 billion per year. Scandic is the leading hotel chain in the Nordic region, with almost 150 hotels in eight countries and 10,000 staff.

- Working with Rica’s employees every day for almost 40 years has been highly rewarding. I cannot praise my colleagues enough. They definitely deserve a share of the praise for Rica’s current strong position and excellent results. Our decision to sell has been made in the certainty that the sale will strengthen Scandic and Rica for the future, says Rivelsrud.

Together, Rica and Scandic will form a leading tourism industry group.

- Rica is a perfect fit for Scandic. Geographically, we complement one another excellently, and we are both focused on the highest standards of customer care. We now look forward to including well-known Rica hotels in attractive locations in our team. Together, we host 25,000 guests every single day. Our customers will soon be able to choose from over 220 hotels across the Nordic region, and 13,000 skilled employees will help to create pleasant, memorable experiences. Rica will further strengthen our position as the leading hotel chain in the Nordic region, says Frank Fiskers, CEO in Scandic.

The Rivelsrud family will retain ownership of Rica Eiendom Holding (Rica Eiendom). Rica Eiendom’s property portfolio encompasses a further 22 hotels, including Rica Holmenkollen Park Hotel, Rica Ishavshotel and Rica Nidelven Hotel. Prior to the deal with Scandic, Rica Hotel Alta, Rica Hotel No. 25 in Gothenburg and Rica Hotel Malmø were demerged from Rica Hotels and included in Rica Eiendom’s portfolio.

- The hotel and tourism industry has always been an important part of everyday life for me and my family. We are not leaving the industry, and will now focus on developing our property portfolio. We have planned several exciting projects for the next few years, including Rica Havet Hotel in Bodø, which opens in the summer. We also look forward to working closely with Scandic and Rica – Rica Eiendom’s largest partner – in the future, says Jan E. Rivelsrud. 

The transaction is conditional upon approval from the Norwegian and Swedish competition authorities.

For further information and coordination of interview requests, please contact: 
Geir Bjørlo, Corporate Communications, +47 915 40 000,
Håkon Rønning, Corporate Communications, +47 971 74 195,


About Rica
Rica Hotels is one of Norway’s largest hotel chains, owning almost 80 hotels in Norway and Sweden, as well as Nordkapphallen. The chain is home to many of Norway’s most well-known hotels, and has been crowned Norway’s best hotel chain for several years in a row. At Rica Hotels, we aim to provide our guests with the best hotel experiences. That is why we work consciously to develop our staff to be excellent hosts. www.rica-hotels.com


About Scandic
Every day, Scandic’s 10,000 employees have one objective in mind – your comfort. As the Nordic region’s most sustainable hotel chain, we have always focused on the environment, social responsibility and accessibility. Scandic is the leading hotel chain in the Nordic region, with around 150 hotels in eight countries and approximately 30,000 hotel rooms turning over EUR 923 million a year. We aim to be more than just a hotel. We want to be a place where people meet, work and are inspired. www.scandichotels.com


Rica’s history
Rica Hotels AS was founded in 1975 by Jan E. Rivelsrud, and began with a restaurant in Oslo. Today, Rica Hotels AS owns 72 own-brand and partner hotels providing excellent geographical coverage across Norway and Sweden.

The history of the Rica chain began in May 1975 at Bygdøy allé number 5, with the transformation of a former car dealership into a modern restaurant. Earlier that spring, Jan E. Rivelsrud had travelled across Europe with his architect to study the popular restaurants of the time. The result was an entirely new restaurant concept with the circus-like name of Bajazzo.

The new restaurant, located next door to the venerable dining institution Bagatelle, was a huge success. Over time, the Bajazzo concept was launched in additional cities across Norway, and was the prelude to what became the country’s leading hotel chain. Eighteen Bajazzo restaurants had been established by the time the hotel business began to take over.

The first hotel acquired was the Grand Hotel in Hammerfest (today Rica Hotel Hammerfest), which Rica took over from Hotell Invest AS in 1975. Rica Hotels AS – or, as it was then called, Rica Hotell- og Restaurantkjede AS – was formally incorporated on 6 June 1975. Although Jan E. Rivelsrud has always been the majority shareholder in the company, the shareholders at the time of formation included his now-deceased brother-in-law Prince Carl Bernadotte.

Parallel to the growth of the restaurant business, the company began to expand into the hotel industry, acquiring and leasing hotels all along Norway, from north to south.

Although Norway has always been Rica Hotels’ primary market, the company has consciously focused on establishing itself in other countries as well. The first foreign investment was made in 1998, when Rica Hotels acquired City Hotels Holding AB with six hotels. Today, the chain has seven hotels in Sweden, and cooperation agreements with the hotel chains Restel Hotel Group (Finland) and Skene House (Scotland).

In the 1990s, Rica’s restaurant operation was scaled back in favour of a streamlined hotel business. Nevertheless, most Rica hotels had their own high-quality restaurants, and many Rica hotels have specialised in offering their guests outstanding dining experiences. Among other things, Rica has won the Best Hotel Breakfast award for eight years in a row.

Today, Rica owns 72 own-brand and partner hotels providing excellent geographical coverage across Norway and Sweden. The portfolio includes historic hotels, modern hotels, course and conference hotels and leisure hotels – in short, a venue for every kind of stay. Rica Hotels AS also operates Nordkapphallen at the North Cape and Sápmi Park in Karasjok, and is currently engaged in several exciting new projects. For example, it plans to open the Rica Ørnen Hotel in Bergen and the Rica Havet Hotel in Bodø in 2014.

Rica Hotels AS and Rica Eiendom are owned by Jan E. Rivelsrud and family. On 11 February 2014, the Rivelsrud family announced that Scandic will take over Rica Hotels AS, forming the leading hotel group in the Nordic region.


Important dates
1975 – First establishment in Rica Hotels’ history – the Bajazzo restaurant in Oslo

1975 – First hotel acquisition – the Grand Hotel in Hammerfest

1994 – Rica Hotels becomes Norway’s first stock-exchange listed hotel chain

1995 – Jan E. Rivelsrud appoints Ole-Jacob Wold as the new CEO of Rica Hotels. Rivelsrud continues as Chairman of the Board.

1998 – Rica Hotels launched in Sweden

1999 – Rica Hotels’ new headquarters opened in Billingstad, Asker

2002 – Rica Eiendom AS demerged from Rica Hotels ASA

2006 – Rica Hotels delisted

2011 – Board chairman and majority shareholder Jan E. Rivelsrud hands over the chairmanship to Ole-Jacob Wold. Fredrik Utheim becomes the new CEO.

2014 – Scandic acquires Rica Hotels AS, forming the leading hotel group in the Nordic region

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