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Marriott-Starwood Merger on Track – Plus New Rewards Details

We have been following the proposed MarriottStarwood merger with interest, as these two powerhouse names in the travel industry join forces. At the end of March, the third-party consortium which was led by Anbang Insurance Group pulled their offer, leaving the field clear for Marriott and Starwood to continue with their planned shareholder meetings to approve the deal.
Merger2Both company’s shareholders overwhelmingly approved Marriott’s purchase of Starwood, and the merger is expected to be completed by the middle of this year. One of the biggest questions for the consumer has been what the rewards programs will look like following the merger, as both companies have unique programs for rewards. Marriott has begun to share what their plans are for rewards going forward. For a time, it appears they will attempt to run two parallel programs, until they can complete the integration into one new program for all the brands involved.
Concert hallSome of the elements of the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program that Marriott has indicated they are including in their new rewards program will be an Experiences Marketplace, Elite Concierge Service and Guaranteed Late Check-out. The Experiences Marketplace will give Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Members the opportunity to redeem points for special events, including sporting events, theater tickets and other interests. This is expected to be available to existing Marriott Rewards members in late May.
Hotel RoomElite Concierge Service and Guaranteed Late Checkout will be benefits available to elite members of the Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards programs. The Elite Concierge Service will match a member with a concierge to help them plan for their “unique needs” before, during and after their stay in a Marriott property. Marriott is planning to make this service available first to an introductory group of Elite U.S. members and expand from there. Guaranteed Late Checkout will launch worldwide on May 16 and is a benefit for current Gold and Platinum Elite Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carton Rewards members.
The value of being a rewards member with Marriott has increased with these announcements and should be a relief to those in the Starwood Preferred Guest program. We can’t wait to see how the implementation of these new benefits goes, and will continue to watch the completion of this merger and its effects on the travel and hospitality industry.

Marriott-Starwood Merger In Jeopardy?

Since November of last year Marriott International had agreed to a merger with Starwood Hotels & A Marriott-Starwood Merger would add properties like this to Marriott's portfolioResorts Worldwide in a deal worth 12.2 billion dollars. That is until early March when a Chinese consortium, including Anbang Insurance Group Co., moved in on the deal, offering Starwood $12.6 billion, and later $13.2 billion. Marriott countered on March 21, with a $13.6 billion dollar offer. Well, not to be outdone, Anbang came back yet again on Monday, offering $14 billion dollars.
Marriott says it remains committed to the Starwood merger, and believes stockholders would benefit more with them in the long run. Marriott is moving to become the world’s largest lodging company with this merger, believing in ever expanding growth. Anbang, on the other hand, is looking to diversify their already lucrative portfolio of U.S real estate investments. The Anbang consortium’s all-cash offer might be more appealing for Starwood shareholders to Marriott’s offer which is a combination of cash and stock.
Is the Marriott-Starwood merger in jeopardy? Although Starwood has yet to change its recommendations to shareholders in support of the Marriott merger, analysts say it is possible the Anbang Consortium, which includes J.C. Flowers & Co. and Primavera Capital could go higher. The fact that Marriott has already had to bargain early on with Starwood, twice in fact, to Starwood’s favor, means this bidding war could be in the early stages.

Marriott’s Purchase of Starwood Hotels Amended

In November we blogged about the announced sale of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide to Marriott International. We closed that post with this note: “Today’s news is a good reminder that the only constant in life is change.” And earlier this week we learned that Marriott’s purchase of Starwood Hotels has been amended. Proof that we were correct about changes!
MergerStarwood had recently announced they received a superior proposal from a consortium of Anbang Insurance Group Co., Ltd., J.C. Flowers & Co. and Primavera Capital Limited. Marriott International increased their offer to Starwood in order to become the superior proposal once again. This is good news for Starwood stockholders, as the value of the deal just increased for them. This transaction is subject to the approval of stockholders for both Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and certain other conditions.
Sheraton ExteriorBrand names of the 1,270 Starwood Hotels that will be included in this merger include Sheraton, Westin, and St. Regis. Marriott’s hotels include over 4,300 properties worldwide such as these familiar brands: The Ritz Carlton, Courtyard, Springhill Suites, Residence Inn and Fairfield Inn and Suites.
Starwood has also announced that it expects to close on their spin-off of their vacation ownership business to Vistana Signature Experiences, Inc. and merger into Interval Leisure Group, Inc. on April 30, 2016. Fortunately for Starwood stockholders, Starwood says that no action is required by them for their stocks to merge into the Hotel Room new company. Owners of Starwood vacation properties will also not have to take any action during this time.
With the amended merger in the works, Marriott is set to become the largest world-wide chain of hotels. Time will only tell how the merger will affect all of the hotel brands that will now be coming under the Marriott umbrella. And perhaps the bigger question is, how will this merger affect the hotel industry as a whole?

Marriott to Purchase Starwood Hotels

The travel industry is abuzz with the news today of a merger between two vacation titans and rivals. Marriott International is purchasing Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide creating the largest hotel chain in the world.
Marriott brands include The Ritz Carlton, Courtyard, Residence Inn and Fairfield Inn and Suites, just to name a few. Swimming PoolMarriott currently has over 4,300 properties in 85 countries. Acquiring the 1,270 properties that Starwood manages in over 100 countries will increase Marriott’s worldwide presence. Starwood property brands include Sheraton, Westin, and St. Regis.
Already announced earlier this year, Starwood is moving forward with plans to separate their vacation ownership business into a separate entity known as Vistana Vacation LandscapeSignature Experiences, so their timeshare resorts will not be included as part of the deal with Marriott. At the end of October, plans were revealed for Interval Leisure Group to acquire Vistana, with the transaction expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2016. Interval Leisure Group operates Interval International and Trading Places International.

We will be watching for updates and further details for both of these Starwood sales. And we can’t help but think that this news is a good reminder that the only constant in life is change!

Starwood Vacation Ownership: New Branch Revealed

seaside-resort-chairsAs we talked about in a previous blog, Starwood is making some changes to its structure and inventory. Adding new resorts and expanding their vacation ownership division were big announcements in March, and we’ve been eagerly awaiting more information about these exciting opportunities since.

Well, the wait is (somewhat) over. On Tuesday, Starwood gave us a tantalizing taste of their newest spinoff: Vistana Signature Experiences Inc., which is set to be completed by fourth-quarter 2015, said a news release.

VSE (an acronym of my own design) will be a publicly traded company.

“Today’s filing is a pivotal step toward the planned spin-off of our vacation ownership business, which will allow us to continue participating in the timeshare industry while seeking to create stockholder value for both companies,” said Adam Aron, Starwood’s interim CEO, in a prepared statement on Tuesday.

Summer-bathers-umbrellasThe Starwood spinoff will continue to develop and operate Starwood’s 22 timeshare resorts, including vacation destinations such as Hawaii, Orlando, Mexico and the Caribbean, as well as additional anticipated locations at Westin Los Cabos, Westin Cancun, Westin Puerto Vallarta, Sheraton Kauai, and Sheraton Steamboat-owned properties Starwood expects to transfer.

We plan to follow VSE and Starwood as these resort powerhouses continue to grow. This branch is, if anything, a testament to the growing industry that is vacation ownership.

Are you already on board? Or is it time for you to invest the most valuable thing of all, getaways and quality time?

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