In a move that will surely send shockwaves throughout the events and hospitality industries, Marriott International Inc. struck a deal to purchase Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc. The merger, announced Monday morning by both companies, will create the world’s largest hotel organization.
Rumors had swirled for months that Starwood—which includes Sheraton, St. Regis and Aloft Hotels, among other notable brands—would be sold imminently. Hyatt and Chinese investors were among those said to have an interest, but ultimately Marriott closed the deal. Combined, the merged companies represent more than 5,500 hotels and 1.1 million rooms worldwide.
“The driving force behind this transaction is growth. This is an opportunity to create value by combining the distribution and strengths of Marriott and Starwood, enhancing our competitiveness in a quickly evolving marketplace,” said Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International, in a statement. “This greater scale should offer a wider choice of brands to consumers, improve economics to owners and franchisees, increase unit growth and enhance long-term value to shareholders.”
The deal is expected to be closed in mid-2016, when planners can expect to see how the merger will affect them.