Just when it looked like Marriott International had once again secured a deal to acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts by sweetening Its original offer, a revised proposal has been submitted by Marriott’s counter-bidding nemesis, China’s Anbang Insurance and its co-investors.
Feeling a bit weary of all the back-and-forth? We are! Anyway, here’s the latest….
Starwood’s board said today that the latest offer from Anbang & company – an all-cash bid of $82.75 per share for all Starwood stock, and the fourth bid to be made in this see-saw battle – is “reasonably likely” to be superior to Marriott’s latest bid, which was estimated to be worth $79.53 per share. That last Marriott bid included $21 per share in cash and the rest on Marriott stock. (Starwood said Anbang’s newest bid, made on March 26, was $81 per share, but in discussions over the past two days, the bidders raised their price to $82.75.)
Once again, Starwood’s board said it would closely examine and discuss the new Anbang bid, and would continue to discuss “non-price terms related to the (Anbang) consortium’s revised proposal.” The board added: “there can be no assurance that discussions will result in a binding proposal from the consortium,” or that it will result in an agreement to sell Starwood to Anbang and friends.
The Starwood board also reaffirmed that it “has not changed its recommendation in support of Starwood’s merger with Marriott.”
Meanwhile, there were reports that China’s government might also toss a monkey wrench into Anbang’s overseas buying spree. Caixin Online, a Chinese business news website, reported that the government’s China Insurance Regulatory Commission could be on the verge of blocking Anbang’s bid for Starwood and a separate Anbang offer for Strategic Hotels – a U.S.-based group that own several high-end hotels and resorts.
The problem, Caixin Online said, is that Chinese regulations bar the nation’s insurance companies from investing more than 15 percent of their assets abroad, a limit that would apparently be exceeded by either of the two proposed acquisitions.
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