By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A big name in the Minnesota business world is changing ownership.

Carlson Hospitality Group announced it is selling its hotel line to the Chinese company HNA Tourism Group, a Fortune 500 company based in Beijing.

Carlson Hotels include the Radisson and Country Inns & Suites hotel brands.

“It is a big deal,” said George John, a marketing professor at University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.

He says HNA comes with global experience, owning hotel properties in Asia and Europe. The company also owns an airline.

“They know what it means to run a top-flight hotel,” John said. “It’s not like they wouldn’t be able to manage Radisson Blus. They know what they’re walking into.”

As to the effect the sale could have on Carlson Hotels employees, the company says the headquarters in Minnetonka will stay put.

Carlson Hospitality Group did not disclose a reason for the sale, but in a statement called it a “historic agreement” that “provides tremendous opportunities for growth.”

The Carlson family will still be keeping ownership of their travel business.

Kate Raddatz