China extends Marriott-Starwood deal review by up to 60 days

Photo: Reuters

China has extended its review of Marriott International Inc’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc by up to 60 days, the companies said on Monday.

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) review is the only remaining merger clearance for the deal, which is expected to create the largest hotel group in the world with a combined enterprise value of $36 billion and 1.1 million hotel rooms.

Hilton Worldwide Holdings, which would be No.2 behind the combined group, has 775,000 rooms.

Marriott and Starwood did not say why MOFCOM needed more time and said their planned merger did not create any anti-competitive issues in China.

MOFCOM has only ever blocked two deals of the 1,473 deals it has reviewed since its anti-monopoly law came into force in 2008 but it has asked for remedies in 26 cases, including InBev, according to law firm Norton Rose Fulbright.

Marriott’s deal to buy Starwood, the operator of Sheraton and Westin hotels, has been cleared by antitrust authorities in more than 40 countries including the United States, the European Union and Canada.

The shareholders of both companies approved the deal in April.

A Chinese company, Anbang Insurance Group Co, had made a bid for Starwood, but abandoned its pursuit of the hotel operator in April after a bidding war that resulted in Marriott increasing its cash-and-stock bid for Starwood by $1 billion. The deal is currently valued at about $13.4 billion.

Anbang had offered $14 billion in cash but an acquisition by the Chinese firm would probably have faced scrutiny by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, an interagency panel that reviews deals to ensure they do not harm national security.

Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.