Hilton has signed a $210m agreement with Adventurous Journeys Capital Partners (AJ Capital) to acquire the Graduate Hotels brand.

The deal includes all rights to the Graduate brand worldwide, franchise agreements for existing and pipeline hotels, and responsibility for the brand’s future growth.

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter, subject to customary conditions and federal approval.

The acquisition is set to be immediately accretive to Hilton, with an anticipated fee contribution of approximately $16m for the first full year of ownership.

Known for its university-town presence, Graduate Hotels will join Hilton’s global portfolio, providing travellers with hospitality options in academic environments.

Hilton president and CEO Chris Nassetta said: “Adding Graduate Hotels to our portfolio of award-winning brands accelerates our expansion in the lifestyle space by pairing an existing much-loved brand with the power of Hilton’s strong commercial engine to drive growth.

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“We have long had a high bar for adding brands to our portfolio, whether organically or through acquisition, and Graduate will be another driver of growth for us, presenting a unique opportunity to serve more guests in more sought-after destinations.

“With thousands of colleges and universities around the world, we believe the addressable market for the Graduate brand is 400–500 hotels globally.”

Each Graduate hotel has been designed to echo the spirit of the local university.

Established in 2014, the brand has properties across the US and the UK, with upcoming openings in Austin, Dallas, Auburn and Princeton.

AJ Capital will retain ownership of the more than 35 operating and pipeline Graduate properties, which will be operated under long-term Hilton franchise agreements.

Graduate Hotels are expected to be available for booking through Hilton channels later this year and will participate in Hilton Honors, the company’s guest loyalty programme for its portfolio of more than 7,500 properties worldwide.

Last month, Hilton signed a franchise agreement with UK-based hospitality company JMK Group to launch its Home2 Suites by Hilton Dublin City Centre in Ireland, which is expected to open next year.