Angbang tops Marriott’s Offer for Starwood

CBJ — China’s Anbang Insurance Group has made a $14-billion buyout offer for the Starwood hotel chain, setting off a takeover fight with U.S. chain Marriott International.

Anbang, which bought New York’s Waldorf Astoria in 2014 for close to $2 billion, has ambitions to be a major player in the U.S. hotel industry. Just recently it entered a $6.5 billion deal for Strategic Hotels & Resorts, which owns The Westin St. Francis in San Francisco, JW Marriott Essex House in New York as well as five Four Seasons hotels and two Ritz Carltons.

The $14-billion bid by Angbang for Starwood tops the $12.2-billion offer put forward by Marriott last November, which would have made Marriott the world’s largest hotel chain.

Starwood, the owner of Sheraton, Westin and St. Regis hotels, put itself on the block last year saying it had struggled to grow as fast as its rivals. It has 1,200 hotels worldwide.

The offer from the Chinese group includes $76 per Starwood share and Interval Leisure Group stock currently valued at about $5.50 per Starwood share. Starwood stock rose 7% on the news.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, based in Stamford, Conn. still favours the Marriott deal, but is giving serious consideration to the Chinese bid.

If it accepts the Marriott deal, the chain would hold 5,500 hotels worldwide, giving it pricing power when negotiating commissions with online travel agencies such as Expedia and Priceline.