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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Marriott, Starwood merger on hold pending Chinese review

Merger is valued at $13.4 billion
Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide CEO Thomas Mangas

Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide CEO Thomas Mangas

From the South Florida website: A Chinese antitrust review is reportedly holding up the merger of Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, a deal which would form the world’s biggest hotel company.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Marriott agreed on Monday to delay the merger, responding to a request from China’s Ministry of Commerce for more time to complete its review of the deal.

The extended review period, which is Marriott and Starwood’s final obstacle before consummating the merger, could take up to 60 days.

Both companies said in an announcement their merger won’t cause antitrust issues in China, and that regulators from more than 40 countries including the U.S. and European Union have given approval.

The merger follows a heated bidding war earlier this year between Marriott and China’s Anbang Insurance Group Co., both of which were vying for control of Starwood and its 10 hotel brands including Sheraton, W, St. Regis and Westin.

In a surprising move, Anbang dropped out of its $14 billion bid, and Marriott’s proposal of a cash-and-stock purchase valued at $13.4 billion was approved shortly after.

The merger will create the world’s largest hotel company, with 1.1 million rooms spread across 5,700 properties. [Wall Street Journal]Sean Stewart-Muniz