According to news reports Thursday, there’s been another big twist in the see-saw bidding battle between Marriott International and a group led by China’s Anbang Insurance to see who will acquire Starwood Hotels – and this may be the final chapter.
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday afternoon that the Anbang-led group has withdrawn its latest bid for Starwood, which was valued at $14 billion, or $82.75 a share. That clears the way for Starwood to move ahead with a shareholder vote on Marriott’s most recent offer, which valued Starwood at $79.53 a share.
News reports said Anbang didn’t give Starwood a reason why it was backing away from its last offer. There had been speculation in Chinese media earlier this week that Anbang could have run into trouble with China’s insurance regulators for seeking to invest more of its assets in foreign companies than is permitted by Chinese law.
The proposed Marriott-Starwood merger has already passed antitrust scrutiny by the U.S. and Canadian governments.
If it is finally accomplished, Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood would create the world’s largest hotel company. An Anbang acquisition of Starwood, if it happened, might have also created problems for business travelers working for the U.S. government or its contractors who wanted to stay at Starwood properties. After Anbang bought the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City in 2014, the State Department moved members of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations out of that hotel, allegedly due to concerns about Chinese electronic espionage at the hotel.
NOTE: Be sure to click here to see all recent TravelSkills posts about: Should I tip my Uber driver? + Boeing 747 nearing its end? + Bargain hunters travel guide for 2016 + World’s best airline lounge? + Fares to Europe tumble