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The Marriott / Starwood saga has been going on for several months now. Here’s a little bit of background, on the off chance you’re just now awakening from an Ichabod Crane-style snooze.
Back in November, I reported on Marriott buying Starwood hotels. Starwood had been “on the market” for quite awhile, and even though there was interest from several different hotels, Marriott appeared to be the winner, with an offer of about $65 / share. Most consumers (myself included) were not fans of a Marriott – Starwood merger. Even though the Marriott CEO promised not to devalue SPG points, most people were not convinced. And that’s not even mentioning the fact that such a merger would likely mean the end of the Amex SPG cards!
Then, it was announced that a consortium led by the Chinese insurer Anbang had made an offer of $78/ share and Starwood officially called this a “superior offer”, triggering a provision in their merger contract. But after a few days where it looked like Anbang was going to be the winner, Starwood agreed to upgraded deal from Marriott. The current deal is for 0.8 shares of Marriott common stock plus $21.00 in cash for each share of Starwood common stock. Marriott’s stock has actually been down lately, so the deal is actually technically worth LESS than the original offer from Anbang.
Today it was announced that Starwood and Marriott, in separate shareholder meetings, both approved the merger. The deal has already cleared antitrust review in the US and Canada, but there are still a few other things that need to be done before the merger officially closes, probably later this summer (July-ish?). It will likely be 2017 if not 2018 before we see any big changes in the loyalty programs. For further reading, I also enjoyed View from the Wing’s post which talked about what Bill Marriott said about the merger and Mommy Points sharing thoughts on possibilities about what the new loyalty program might look like.