US private equity firm Blackstone is to buy Hilton Hotels Corporation in a deal worth more than $20bn (£9.9bn).

Under the agreement, Blackstone, the owners of Galileo, will acquire Hilton shares for $47.50 per share. Blackstone currently owns more than 100,000 hotel rooms in the US and Europe including La Quinta Inns and Suites to LXR Luxury Resorts and Hotels.

Blackstone also owns Center Parcs and the Tragus restaurant group as well as the Madame Tussauds Group of visitor attractions and New York’s London NYC hotel.

The deal, which has been approved by Hilton’s board of directors, is expected to close sometime during the fourth quarter of 2007.