Mar­riott-Star­wood merger wins an­titrust ap­proval fromMof­com

China Daily (Canada) - - BUSINESS - ByWANG ZHUO­QIONG wangzhuo­qiong@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China’s an­titrust reg­u­la­tor ap­proved Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional Inc’s deal to buy Star­woodHo­tels& Re­sort­sWorld­wide Inc, paving the way for the com­bined com­pany to be­come the world’s largest ho­tel group.

The two hote­liers an­nounced on Tues­day their merger trans­ac­tion has re­ceived ap­proval from the Chi­nese Min­istry of Com­merce. It was the only re­view pend­ing af­ter the com­pa­nies se­cured pre-merger ap­provals from more than 40 coun­tries in­clud­ing the United States and Canada as well as the Euro­pean Union.

Zhao Huanyan, an econ­o­mist at Huamei Ho­tel Con­sult­ing, said the merger has no im­pact on­the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try.

“Ho­tel groups now have large num­bers of brands, so there is a very lim­ited pos­si­bil­ity of mo­nop­oly,” said Zhao.

“Mar­riott and Star­wood are com­pa­nies with light-weighted as­sets, and their merger poses no threat to fair com­pe­ti­tion in the in­dus­try,” Zhao said.

The com­bined com­pany will have a value of $36 bil­lion and 1.1 mil­lion ho­tel rooms.

Mar­riott and Star­wood ex­pect the trans­ac­tion to be com­pleted be­fore the mar­ket opens on Fri­day. In con­junc­tion with the merger clos­ing, Star­wood ex­pects its shares will cease trad­ing on the New York Stock Ex­change be­fore the mar­ket opens on Fri­day.

As pre­vi­ously an­nounced, Star­wood share­hold­ers will re­ceive $21 in cash and 0.80 share of Mar­riott Class A com­mon stock for each share of Star­wood com­mon stock.

As­sum­ing that the trans­ac­tion closes as ex­pected, for­mer Star­wood share­hold­ers will be en­ti­tled to re­ceiveMar­riott’s quar­terly cash div­i­dend of 30 cents per share of com­mon stock that Mar­riott’s board of di­rec­tors de­clared on Sept 13 and which is payable to al­lMar­riott share­hold­ers at the close of busi­ness on Fri­day.

The div­i­dend to Mar­riott share­hold­ers, in­clud­ing the for­mer Star­wood share­hold­ers, will be paid on Sept 30.

Mar­riott, a lead­ing lodg­ing com­pany based in Bethesda, Mary­land, has more than 4,500 prop­er­ties in 88 coun­tries and re­gions.

Mar­riott re­ported rev­enues of more than $14 bil­lion in fis­cal year 2015.

The com­pany op­er­ates and fran­chises ho­tels and li­censes vacation own­er­ship re­sorts un­der 19 brands, in­clud­ing the Ritz-Carl­ton, Bul­gari and JW Mar­riott. Star­wood owns more than 1,300 prop­er­ties in some 100 coun­tries with about 188,000 em­ploy­ees, op­er­at­ing un­der brands that in­clude the St. Regis, the Lux­ury Col­lec­tion andWestin.

... and their merger poses no threat to fair com­pe­ti­tion in the in­dus­try.”

PA­TRICK FAL­LON / BLOOMBERG

A cy­clist rides past the Ma­rina Del Rey Mar­riott ho­tel in Ma­rina Del Rey, Cal­i­for­nia.

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