Marriott International, Inc. and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. announced on November 16, 2015 that the boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved a definitive merger agreement under which the companies 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, greater opportunities for associates and should unlock additional value for Marriott and Starwood shareholders. Combined, the companies operate or franchise more than 5,500 hotels with 1.1 million rooms worldwide. The combined company’s pro forma fee revenue for the 12 months ended September 30, 2015 totals over $2.7 billion. Marriott International expects to accelerate the growth of Starwood’s brands, leveraging Marriott’s worldwide development organization and owner and franchisee relationships. The combined company will have a broader global footprint, strengthening Marriott’s ability to serve guests wherever they travel.
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.” The transaction is subject to Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide shareholder approvals, completion of Starwood’s planned disposition of its timeshare business, regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions. Assuming receipt of the necessary approvals, the parties expect the transaction to close in mid-2016.