Anbang abruptly quits Starwood talks, clearing way for Marriott takeover

By Kevin Zimmerman

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Well, that didn’t take long.

Mere days after Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide said it was expecting a potentially “superior proposal” to Marriott International’s for acquiring its 1,200-plus properties, second suitor Anbang Insurance Group Co. of China abruptly withdrew from a reported $14 billion takeover offer.

The end of Anbang’s participation in negotiations, which began three weeks ago, was announced in a brief email citing “various market considerations.” Late last year, Anbang Chairman Wu Xiaohui withdrew a preliminary offer to acquire Starwood during a meeting after being asked to share written details of Anbang’s plans for financing the deal.

Anbang’s exit should clear the way for Marriott to move forward with its proposed offer for Starwood, first announced last November. Starwood shareholders are scheduled to vote April 8 on the Marriott deal, which is valued at $77.94 a share or $13.2 billion, based on the March 31 closing price.

If it goes through, the Marriott acquisition would make it the world’s largest hotel company with roughly 30 hotel brands. In addition to the Marriott name, the company’s 4,000-plus hotels include the Ritz-Carlton, Bulgari, Protea and Moxy names.

Stamford-based Starwood’s properties include the Westin, Sheraton, St. Regis, and W Hotel brands.

Anbang will presumably continue with its already agreed-upon $6.5 billion acquisition from Blackstone Group LP of Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc., which owns 17 luxury hotels in the U.S. and one in Germany. Anbang acquired New York City’s fabled Waldorf Astoria from Blackstone for nearly $2 billion in 2014.

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