A Midlands-based hotels chain yesterday changed hands in a deal valued at £180 million.

Property investor aAIMand R20, the private equity vehicle of Robert Tchenguiz, have teamed up to buy Menzies Hotels, a chain of 15 provincial four star hotels run by Nick Menzies, from Nikko Principal Investments.

Headquarted in Derby, with hotels in Walsall, Stratford-upon-Avon, Coventry and Kidderminster, Mr Menzies will continue as chief exeutive of the chain.

"I am excited to work with aAIM and R20 to grow Piccadilly Hotels," he said.

"They are deep pocketed investors who have strong knowledge of the hotel market, real estate and innovative financial structuring."

AAIM and R20, who are 50-50 partners in the deal, have formed a joint venture company called Picadilly Hotels and view Menzies as a well managed hotel chain with strong real estate backing and a platform for future consolidation in the UK provincial four star market. Future asset and corporate acquisitions by Piccadilly Hotels are planned.

Mark Tagliaferri, aAIM group chairman, said: "We believe hotels are very attractive real estate assets in the current market. We have created a strong platform with R20 and BOS as funding partners and Nick Menzies as an operating partner to participate in the consolidation of the UK provincial 4 star hotel market."

Tim Smalley, director of R20, added: "We are delighted to team up with aAIM and back Nick Menzies. We believe Nick is a strong executive and entrepreneur who we can work with to grow the group into a substantial UK provincial hotel chain."

PriceWaterhouse Coopers advised aAIM Group and R20 on the deal.

Matt Waddell, head of PWC's corporate finance team, said: "This transaction marks a significant move forward for a strong regional hotel brand.

"The combination of our pan-Midlands team and hospitality and leisure sector specialism provided valuable insight."