Anbang Pulls Out of $14B Bid for Starwood

After a lengthy bidding war, the consortium led by Anbang Insurance Group has withdrawn its $14 billion offer to acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.
Arne Sorenson, President & CEO, Marriott International

Arne Sorenson, President & CEO, Marriott International

New York—After much back and forth, it seems the ongoing battle for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. has finally reached its end, following the announcement by China’s Anbang Insurance Group Co. on Thursday that it’s withdrawing its $14 billion bid to buy the company. This new development paves the way for Marriott International Inc. to achieve its long-awaited goal of acquiring Starwood and becoming the largest hotel company in the world.

The consortium led by Anbang said in its release that while it was “attracted to the opportunity presented by Starwood because of its high-quality, leading global hotel brands … due to various market conditions, the consortium has determined not to proceed further.”

The news comes as quite a surprise, considering Anbang put up a good fight for Starwood. The Marriott-Starwood merger seemed a done deal back in November, but Anbang shook up the agreement this March when it made a $13.2 billion bid for the company, a superior offer to Marriott’s $12.2 billion. When Marriott upped its offer to $13.6 billion on March 21, Anbang shot back again with a $14 billion bid that many thought would seal the deal.

Anbang’s purchase of Starwood would have also been the largest purchase to date made by a Chinese company, in the face of increasing Chinese investment in the U.S. hospitality sector in recent years. Anbang announced plans last month to acquire luxury hotel owner Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc. for a reported $6.5 billion and purchased the Waldorf Astoria New York from Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. for $1.95 billion in October 2014.

Starwood and Marriott issued a separate release Thursday encouraging shareholders of both companies to vote to support the merger.

“We are focused on maximizing shareholder value, and from the beginning of this process we have been steadfast in our belief that a combination with Starwood will offer the highest value to all shareholders,” said Arne Sorenson, president & CEO of Marriott International.

Both companies will hold their respective shareholder meetings on April 8. Sorenson said in today’s investor webcast that if the merger is approved, he expects the deal to close at the end of the second quarter of 2016. He ended the webcast by saying, “We’re thrilled about the prospects of this great hotel company when the deal finally closes.”

Stay with CPE for more in-depth analysis on the merger and its implications for the industry.