Thursday 14 December 2017

Chinese bid for Starwood Hotels in latest big move

A Chinese firm paid $1.95bn for the Waldorf Astoria in New York
A Chinese firm paid $1.95bn for the Waldorf Astoria in New York

Sarah Mulholland

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide jumped the most in six years after it was reported that at least three big Chinese companies are competing to buy the company.

Shanghai Jin Jiang International Hotels, HNA Group. and China Investment Corporation have presented separate proposals to the Chinese government for its approval to make a bid, the Wall Street Journal reported. Starwood rose 9.1pc, the biggest one-day gain since August 2009.

Chinese investors have flocked to US real estate, from trophy properties to new developments. In February, China's Anbang Insurance Group bought the Waldorf Astoria hotel for $1.95bn in the largest-ever purchase of a US hotel.

"Chinese investors have been pretty aggressive in the hotel market over the last year or so," said Lukas Hartwich, an analyst at Green Street Advisors, a real estate research firm based in Newport Beach, California. "Starwood has some pretty powerful brands. It's an attractive platform, especially if you don't already own a platform with that kind of cachet."

Carrie Bloom, a spokeswoman for Starwood Hotels, declined to comment. The company, based in Stamford, Connecticut, operates brands including Westin, W and St. Regis.

Starwood announced in April that it was exploring strategic options including a possible sale. The company, led by interim chief executive Adam Aron after the resignation of longtime head Frits van Paasschen in February, had been lagging behind competitors such as Marriott International and Hilton Worldwide Holdings in expanding the number of hotels carrying its brands.

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