That's been the heavy-duty speculation going into the 2007 acquisition season. Merrill Lynch's David Anders added more fuel to the fire today by naming the Beverly Hills-based hotel company an obvious candidate, most likely through a private equity deal. (The stock took a bit of a tumble today after reaching its 52-week high last week.) Hilton recently projected that earnings would grow 16-22 percent through 2009 - no doubt helped along by increases in room rates. “A take-out of Hilton could help investors quickly realize value,” Anders wrote. Keep in mind that Four Seasons and Fairmont have already gotten buyout offers. Why are hotels looking so good? Mostly because the cost of new construction is so high. That makes existing properties especially valuable. And the private equity guys still have money to burn.