Continuing a mini-trend of buyouts in the hotel and lodging industry, private equity group Blackstone announced on Tuesday that it had struck a $3.24 billion deal to purchase WyndhamInternational (AMEX:WBR).

Although still a well-regarded brand, this hotel operator had been struggling for some time. Even as high-end rivals like Four Seasons (NYSE:FS) and Orient Express (NYSE:OEH) pulled themselves out of the doldrums, Wyndham struggled unsuccessfully to reverse a long trend of unprofitability.

Even with this buyout, though, few investors are getting a big payday. Common shares are going out for about $1.15 each in cash, but the company's total common stock is worth just under $200 million.

Even the preferred shareholders who own most of the company aren't getting as rich as they had hoped. A group of investors, led by Apollo Real Estate Advisors, pumped in about $1 billion in 1999. But the value of their stock in this deal is only about $1.16 billion -- a substantial cut from its nominal value of $1.6 billion.

While Wyndham operates about 150 hotels around the world, they actually own only 32 of them. In addition, it's entirely possible that Blackstone will attempt to trim Wyndham's debt load by selling some assets. Other operators like Starwood (NYSE:HOT), Marriott (NYSE:MAR), and Motley Fool Inside Value pick Cendant (NYSE:CD) seemed somewhat interested in Wyndham in this go-round. If Blackstone decides to sell off any bits and pieces of its new acquisition, those former competitors might consider buying.

Brave (or foolhardy) investors who bought this stock in late '02/early '03 came out pretty well, but long-term investors got skinned. That's part of the risk of dealing with highly leveraged businesses in such cyclical and economically sensitive industries. When times are good, that leverage is your friend, but it can turn around and bite you when the going gets tough.

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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (which means he's neither long nor short the shares).