A New Age of Acquisitions in Hospitality & Tourism: The Bidding War to Acquire Starwood

A New Age of Acquisitions in Hospitality & Tourism: The Bidding War to Acquire Starwood

  • Case
  • Teaching Notes
  • Supplementary Resources

In April 2015, numerous hospitality industry insiders speculated that Starwood Hotels and Resorts was open to being acquired. Since then, a number of companies have expressed interest in bidding for Starwood, including Hyatt, Marriott International, and Chinese companies such as Jin Jiang International Hotels, Hainan Airlines’ parent company HNA Group, and sovereign-wealth fund China Investment Corp (Wei and Karmin, 2015). On November 16, 2015, Reuters reported that Marriott International, Inc. agreed to acquire Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. for US$12.2 billion, which would create the world’s largest hotel company. However, Marriott’s acquisition attempt ran into competition from a consortium of investors led by a Chinese firm – Anbang Insurance Group Co. Anbang has aggressively acquired U.S. assets, expanding its hospitality business in response to a high growth trend in the Chinese travel market.

This case study highlights four classic theories of merger and acquisitions (M&A) that can be applied to explain the bidding attempts for Starwood by Marriott and Anbang, in addition to identifying potential causes of success and failure, impacts, and competitive influences of M&As. The competing theoretical and practical perspectives will ensure lively in-depth discussions and contextualize students’ understanding of abstract theories.

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