Marriott Completes $13B Starwood Buy

Nearly one year after first revealing merger plans, the two hotel giants officially combined forces Sept. 23.

By Keith Loria, Contributing Editor

Arne Sorenson, President & CEO, Marriott International
Arne Sorenson, President & CEO, Marriott International

WashingtonMarriott International Inc. has officially acquired Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, in a $13 billion deal, creating the world’s largest hotel company.

The combined company will operate or franchise more than 5,700 properties and 1.1 million rooms, representing 30 leading brands from the moderate-tier to luxury across 110 countries.

“Throughout our nearly 90-year history we have never stopped searching for innovative ways to serve our guests,” J.W. Marriott, Jr., Marriott International’s executive chairman & chairman of the board, said in a statement. “With the addition of Starwood’s strong brands, great properties, and talented people, we have dramatically expanded our ability to provide the best experiences to our customers.”

With the acquisition, Marriott now offers the most comprehensive portfolio of brands including leading lifestyle brands, a significant global footprint, and leadership in the luxury and select-service tiers, as well as the convention and resort segment. Its distribution has more than doubled in Asia and the Middle East and Africa combined.

Additionally, the acquisition enables the combined company to expand the scope of its distribution and portfolio, while deploying its larger scale to realize cost efficiencies in its corporate and property operations.

“We believe that Marriott now has the world’s best portfolio of hotel brands, the most comprehensive global footprint, and the most extensive loyalty programs, providing an unparalleled guest experience,” stated Arne Sorenson, Marriott International president & CEO. “Combining Starwood’s brands with ours better enables Marriott to reach our goal of having the right brand in the right place to serve our loyal guests and welcome new ones.”

Effective immediately, Marriott will match member status across Marriott Rewards, which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest, enabling members to transfer points between the programs for travel and exclusive experiences when they link their accounts.

According to Marriott, Jr., the company welcomes the tremendous responsibility as the world’s largest hotel company to be a good global steward, providing new opportunities for its associates and building the economic strength of the communities its calls home.

The company announced during a press call that it is confident it can achieve $250 million in annual corporate cost synergies. Additional synergies at the property level should come in the form of leveraging scale in operations and sharing best practices.

“These enhanced efficiencies and revenue opportunities should drive improved property-level profitability as well as greater owner and franchisee preference for the combined company’s brands, which will encourage new hotel development,” Sorenson said. “As new travel destinations emerge, Marriott can be counted on to be there.”