Chicago-based Hyatt has entered into advanced talks to acquire Starwood Hotels and Resorts, according to a CNBC report and the travel website Skift, a potentially massive deal that would create a combined company boasting more than half a million rooms. Currently valued at $13.5 billion, Starwood controls or manages roughly 1,270 properties in about 100 countries, including the W Hotels brand.
Starwood, based in Stamford, Connecticut, operates worldwide under an assortment of brands including Westin, W Hotels and St. Regis. The company has lagged behind Marriott and Hilton (each of which has more than 700,000 rooms) and has been "exploring strategic options" since April. Analysts believe a Hyatt acquisition of Starwood would help both companies become more well-rounded, creating a joint company boasting the limited-service options of Hyatt and a large international footprint. Hyatt owns 618 properties in 51 countries, with a value of $7.1 billion.
Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported that three Chinese companies were in the running to make a takeover bid (the government will choose a single firm to compete, to prevent competition between Chinese firms from driving up the final price). If any of the three companies in question made a successful bid for Starwood, it would be the largest Chinese acquisition of a U.S. company. This comes on the heels of expanded Chinese investment in U.S. real estate, including big-name New York hotels such as the Waldorf-Astoria (for a record $1.95 billion) and the Baccarat.
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