Starwood, Marriott Deal Gets Competition From Chinese Buyer

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Shares of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: HOT) popped about 10% in Monday’s premarket, following an announcement by the company that it has received a non-binding buyout offer of $76 a share in cash from a consortium including China-based Anbang Insurance Group. Starwood’s pending acquisition offer from Marriott International Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is valued at $63.74 per share in cash and stock. Starwood shareholders would also receive about $5.50 per share from the spin-off of the company’s Interval Leisure Group.

The new bid for Starwood is valued at $13 billion, compared with the $10.8 billion total offer from Marriott. The Marriott deal does not include the $5.50 per share for the Interval spin-off.

Marriott’s definitive merger agreement with Starwood was announced last November and includes 0.92 shares of Marriott stock and $2 in cash for each Starwood share. The price of poker just went up.

Marriott has granted Starwood a waiver to enter discussions with the consortium and to provide due diligence until one minute before midnight on March 17.

In its announcement Starwood said:

Starwood’s Board of Directors has not changed its recommendation in support of Starwood’s merger with Marriott. The Board, in consultation with its legal and financial advisors, will carefully consider the outcome of its discussions with the [Anbang-led] Consortium in order to determine the course of action that is in the best interest of Starwood and its stockholders. The Consortium has not completed diligence and there are a number of matters to be resolved in the Consortium’s proposal.

Shortly after the Marriott offer was made, analysts at Canaccord Genuity boosted their rating on Marriott stock from Hold to Buy and increased the price target from $83 to $88. At the same time, Starwood’s Buy rating was maintained but the company’s price target was lowered from $93 to $81. Our take at the time was that it was a good deal for Marriott.

Starwood owns Sheraton, St. Regis and W hotel brands, while Anbang acquired New York’s Waldorf Astoria in 2014 for $2 billion. Anbang recently agreed to acquire Strategic Hotels & Resorts from Blackstone for $6.5 billion.

Starwood’s shares traded up about 6.5% after the opening bell, at $75.00 in a 52-week range of $56.87 to $87.99. The consensus price target on the stock is $75.37.

Marriott’s stock also traded up at $70.67, about 2.6% above Friday’s closing price, in a 52-week range of $56.43 to $85.00. The consensus price target on the stock is $73.90.