Marriott-Starwood merger wins antitrust approval from Mofcom

Updated: 2016-09-22 08:19


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Marriott-Starwood merger wins antitrust approval from Mofcom

A cyclist rides past the Marina Del Rey Marriott hotel in Marina Del Rey, California.FALLON/BLOOMBERG

China's antitrust regulator approved Marriott International Inc's deal to buy Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc, paving the way for the combined company to become the world's largest hotel group.

The two hoteliers announced on Tuesday their merger transaction has received approval from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce. It was the only review pending after the companies secured pre-merger approvals from more than 40 countries including the United States and Canada as well as the European Union.

Zhao Huanyan, an economist at Huamei Hotel Consulting, said the merger has no impact on the hospitality industry.

"Hotel groups now have large numbers of brands, so there is a very limited possibility of monopoly," said Zhao.

"Marriott and Starwood are companies with light-weighted assets, and their merger poses no threat to fair competition in the industry," Zhao said.

The combined company will have a value of $36 billion and 1.1 million hotel rooms.

Marriott and Starwood expect the transaction to be completed before the market opens on Friday. In conjunction with the merger closing, Starwood expects its shares will cease trading on the New York Stock Exchange before the market opens on Friday.

As previously announced, Starwood shareholders will receive $21 in cash and 0.80 share of Marriott Class A common stock for each share of Starwood common stock.

Assuming that the transaction closes as expected, former Starwood shareholders will be entitled to receive Marriott's quarterly cash dividend of 30 cents per share of common stock that Marriott's board of directors declared on Sept 13 and which is payable to all Marriott shareholders at the close of business on Friday.

The dividend to Marriott shareholders, including the former Starwood shareholders, will be paid on Sept 30.

Marriott, a leading lodging company based in Bethesda, Maryland, has more than 4,500 properties in 88 countries and regions.

Marriott reported revenues of more than $14 billion in fiscal year 2015.

The company operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts under 19 brands, including the Ritz-Carlton, Bulgari and JW Marriott. Starwood owns more than 1,300 properties in some 100 countries with about 188,000 employees, operating under brands that include the St. Regis, the Luxury Collection and Westin.