The big becomes the biggest, Marriott acquires Starwood

The $12.2 billion merger between Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts has finally seen daylight bringing together 1.1 million guest rooms in over 5,500 hotels around the world, under one umbrella. The new combined company will together represent 30 brands and nearly $20 billion in annual revenue, making Marriott the world’s largest hotel company. Hilton Worldwide is next in line with 4,400 properties, 731,000 rooms and $10.5 billion in annual revenue. Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson will remain CEO of the combined company, with its headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland. The deal is expected to close in mid-2016 following shareholder and regulatory approvals. The company had been in talks with Chinese companies as well as Chicago-based Hyatt Hotels and Resorts over a possible sale since some time.

The merger will see Starwood’s luxury brands W Hotels, St. Regis, Luxury Collection and Westin brands and Marriott’s Ritz-Carlton and Bvlgari brands come together, making the new company one of the biggest luxury hotel operator in the world. Marriott intends to accelerate the growth of these luxury Starwood brands, allowing consumer to experience their favorite brand in more locations while improving consumer satisfaction and strengthening the relationship between brand and client. Starwood will also benefit from growth in the lifestyle category with Marriott’s broad range of brands in this segment while Starwood’s strong international presence is expected to help Marriott increase its global footprint. According to Sorenson, Starwood appealed to Marriott because of its portfolio of 11 brands, many of them lifestyle hotels that tend to attract younger travelers. The brand recently added the Tribute Portfolio – a collection of four-and five-star independent hotels and the Design Hotels into the Starwood portfolio.

The merger will also see 54 million Marriott Rewards members and 21 million Starwood Preferred Guest members come together, although no decision has been made whether or not to merge the programs yet. Guests can however be assured that the merger will not impact their stay or affect their loyalty points in either program.

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