Marriott to Buy Starwood Hotels for $12 Billion

Marriott International announced it would buy Starwood Hotels and Resorts for over $12 billion. The combination of the two hotel giants will create the world’s largest hotel company.

The transaction combines Starwood’s leading lifestyle brands and international footprint with Marriott’s strong presence in the luxury and select-service tiers, as well as the convention and resort segment, creating a more comprehensive portfolio.  The merged company will offer broader choice for guests, associates and shareholders.  Combined, the companies operate or franchise more than 5,500 hotels with 1.1 million rooms worldwide.

The loyalty program Marriott Rewards has 54 million members and Starwood Preferred Guest has 21 million members. Starwood is known for offering better perks and benefits to its top-tier members and it remains to be seen whether these offers continue after the Marriott merger is complete.

Arne Sorenson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Marriott International, said: “The driving force behind this transaction is growth. This is an opportunity to create value by combining the distribution and strengths of Marriott and Starwood, enhancing our competitiveness in a quickly evolving marketplace.  This greater scale should offer a wider choice of brands to consumers, improve economics to owners and franchisees, increase unit growth and enhance long-term value to shareholders.  Today is the start of an incredible journey for our two companies.  We expect to benefit from the best talent from both companies as we position ourselves for the future.  I know we’ll do great things together as The World’s Favorite Travel Company.”

J.W. Marriott, Jr., Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board of Marriott International, said: “We have competed with Starwood for decades and we have also admired them. I’m excited we will add great new hotels to our system and for the incredible opportunities for Starwood and Marriott associates.  I’m delighted to welcome Starwood to the Marriott family.”

Bruce Duncan, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, said: “During our comprehensive review of strategic and financial alternatives, it was clear that our talented people, world-class brands, global leadership and spirit of innovation were much admired and key drivers of our value.  Our board concluded that a combination with Marriott provides the greatest long-term value for our shareholders and the strongest and most certain path forward for our company.  Starwood shareholders will benefit from ownership in one of the world’s most respected companies, with vast growth potential further enhanced by cost synergies.  Starwood’s shareholders will also receive the value of the previously announced sale of our vacation ownership business to Interval Leisure Group, which is not part of this transaction.”

Adam Aron, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Chief Executive Officer on an interim basis, said: “We are excited to play a vital role in the creation of the biggest and best hotel company in the world with tremendous upside potential.  The combination of our two companies brings together the best in innovation, culture and execution.  Our guests and customers will benefit from so many more options across 30 hotel brands, while our hotel owners and franchisees will derive value from our combined global platform and efficiencies.  We are also delighted that our associates will have expanded opportunities as part of a larger organization that is consistently recognized as one of the best companies to work for in the world.”

Arne Sorenson will remain President and Chief Executive Officer of Marriott International following the merger and Marriott’s headquarters will remain in Bethesda, MD.

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