Marriott, Starwood merger gets final approval

Marriott International has cleared its final hurdle to merging with Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide and becoming the largest hotel company in the world.

On Tuesday, Marriott received approval from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, the last regulatory consent it needed to proceed with the merger.

Marriott expects to complete the transaction before the market opens on Friday.

The merger agreement between Bethesda, Md.-based Marriott and Stamford, Conn.-based Starwood was first announced in November 2015.

But the alliance faced roadblocks as Chinese consortium Anbang Insurance Group submitted a competing bid for Starwood, one that the company entertained for several weeks. Anbang eventually dropped out of the bidding war.

Marriott and Starwood settled on a $12.2 billion deal. Combined, the company will have 1.1 million rooms and more than 30 brands.

In August, Chinese regulators asked for 60 more days to review the merger.

Marriott had already received approvals from other countries in which it operates, including Mexico and the European Union.

Once the merger closes, Starwood’s shares will cease trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Starwood shareholders will receive $21 in cash and 0.80 shares of Marriott International, Inc. Class A common stock for each share of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. common stock.

Former Starwood shareholders will be entitled to receive Marriott’s quarterly cash dividend of $0.30 per share of Marriott common stock that Marriott’s Board of Directors declared on Sept. 13.



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