NEW YORK – Besides the rising popularity and valuation of Airbnb, the most scintillating topic at the 36th annual NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference Sunday through Tuesday was the speculation that UK-based, Holiday Inn-parent IHG was a takeover target.

If you recall, on Memorial Day word started to spread in the U.S. that British media reports said a company (alleged to be Starwood Hotels & Resorts) had offered to buy IHG for $10 billion – and that IHG had spurned the offer.

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There’s nothing new to report, although rumors were flying in hallway discussions.

During a CEO panel at the conference, IHG CEO Richard Solomons called the report speculative.

“We never comment on speculation,” he told the crowd of hotel owners, brand executives, bankers, hotel management executives and private equity executives.

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