Speed Reads

Mergers and acquisitions

Marriott expected to buy rival Starwood Hotels after China's Anbang drops $14 billion bid

Late Thursday, China's Anbang Insurance Group Co. unexpectedly dropped its $14 billion bid for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, leaving the door open to rival suitor Marriott International. Anbang's aggressive offer, backed by private equity firms J.C. Flowers & Co. and Primavera Capital Group, would have resulted in the largest-ever Chinese acquisition of a U.S. company. The insurance firm said it dropped the bid "due to various market considerations," while Primarvera chairman Fred Hu told Reuters that "Anabang is a disciplined buyer" with "both the interest and the financial resources to do a deal of this size and more, but only at the right terms that make long-term financial sense"

Anbang, an insurance company started in 2004, made its bid for Starwood after Marriott had already agreed to buy the hotel company for $12.2 billion last November. Analysts say that Anbang's rival offers made Marriott raise its offer by about $1 billion. After hearing about Anbang dropping its bid, Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson told The Wall Street Journal that "we're thrilled.... And we’re ready to go." Starwood owns such hotel brands as Sheraton, W Hotels, St. Regis, and Westin, and if Marriott closes the deal, the combined company will be the world's biggest hotel chain, with 30 brands and more than a million rooms.