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December 12, 2013 AT 12:28 PM
The hotel business is back. At least judging from Wall Street’s reaction to Hilton Worldwide’s stock on its first day of trading on Thursday. Shares in Hilton were more than 8 percent higher at midday, with the stock trading at $21.66, up $1.67. The hotel chain is one of the largest companies to go public this year and a main player in the hospitality industry. But its strong debut probably could not have been predicted a short time ago. The company went private in a $26 billion deal with the Blackstone Group in 2007, at the height of the takeover era. Then the economy collapsed. Blackstone focused on cutting the company’s debt and, as the economy recovered, Hilton’s revenue recovered along with it.