A Minnesota firm has purchased half interest in the Salt Lake Hilton to end lengthy negotiations and a legal battle between the building's previous owners.

The 50 percent interest was acquired from the Pearson family of Salt Lake City by the Rochester, Minn.-based Kahler Corp.The other half owner, The Preferred Properties Fund 81, San Mateo, Calif., had filed suit contending the Pearsons, as managers of the hotel, had served their own interests over the interests those of their co-owner.

While certain matters have yet to be resolved with the Pearsons, the suit has been dropped, according to Preferred Properties' local counsel.

S.L.K. Management Inc., wholly-owned subsidiary of the Kahler Corp., has been managing the hotel since May in anticipation of the purchase by its parent. Preferred Properties, however, continues as the managing partner.

Harold W. Milner, president of Kahler Corp., said he was pleased with the shared ownership.

Milner is a 1960 engineering graduate of the University of Utah who was treasurer of the Marriott Corp. before joining Kahler three years ago.

Kahler, which owns and operates hotels, also also has a joint ownership in a hotel in Arizona, he said.

The Hilton acquisition, he said, was through equity in the form of a subordinated debenture.

Kahler Corp., since earlier this year has owned and and operated the new University Park Hotel at the University of Utah Research Park.

The Salt Lake Hilton was completed in 1975 at cost of $12 million and acquired by the Pearsons. The 351-room Hilton got off to a troubled start when the previous owner-developer found itself unable to continue construction because of change orders made during a period of high inflation. For a period, the contractor, suspended construction. Once completed, it was to become a prestige hostelry adding new space and meeting facilities to Salt Lake offerings.

Kahler Corp. was founded in 1917 to provide lodging for individuals visiting the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Operations expanded to six hotels in Rochester and five hotels and conference centers at other locations. Its business also includes Anderson's, a wholesale and retail formal-wear supplier in the Midwest and Western states, and Textile Care Services, an institutional laundry serving southeastern Minnesota.

Earlier, Pearson principal Rickard D. Pearson said after the sale of its Salt Lake Hilton interest, the Pearsons will continue to have equity and management interests interests in the Ogden Hilton, the Airport Hilton, Tri-Arc Hotel, and Parklane Senior Citizens Apartments, as well as management of the Best Western Motel in Midland, Texas.