Explanations for franchising are examined in the context of the US hotel industry. The study is distinct from previous research on franchising because it explicitly recognizes the existence of three organizational forms, whereas previous research has focused exclusively on two of these three forms. The two organizational forms examined in previous work are franchising and company ownership. The additional organizational form is company-management/investor-ownership, which involves management by the franchisor and ownership by outside investor groups. A plausible explanation for the existence of the last organizational form is based on the availability of low cost capital from non-chain sources.