A consortium of investors led by China’s Anbang Insurance Group has made an unsolicited $12.8 billion cash bid for Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Analysts say that this new bid, which Starwood received on March 11th, could spark a bidding war with Marriott International, Inc.
The boards of directors of Marriott International, Inc. and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. have approved a definitive merger agreement under which the companies will create the world’s largest hotel company. News of the agreement was made public on Monday, November 16, 2015.
The Financial Times, bloomberg.com, reuters.com and other business news sources report that Anbang is offering $76 US per share, topping the Marriott deal which values Starwood at $67.22 US per share.
The bid is the latest move in Anbang’s acquisition strategy. In February 2015, it purchased the Waldorf Astoria New York for $1.95 billion US. This past weekend, news broke that it was acquiring Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc. for approximately $6.5 billion US.
Strategic Hotels & Resorts’ properties include the Fairmont Scottsdale, Loews Santa Monica Beach, Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, The Westin St. Francis in San Francisco, and Four Seasons hotels in Silicon Valley, CA, Washington, DC, and Austin, TX.
In a press release issued yesterday, Marriott International reaffirmed its commitment to acquiring Starwood to create the world’s largest hotel company. It pointed out that Anbang’s “unsolicited indication of interest is highly conditional and non-binding.”
Marriott also granted Starwood a waiver to expedite its evaluation of the letter from the interested consortium. Stockholders from Marriott and Starwood are scheduled to meet separately on March 28, 2016 to vote on the merger.
Starwood stated yesterday (March 14, 2016) that its Board of Directors has not changed its recommendation in support Starwood’s merger with Marriott. The company also said that its Board, in consultation with its legal and financial advisors, will carefully consider the outcome of its discussions with the consortium in order to determine the course of action that it determines is in the best interest of Starwood and its stockholders.