Bethesda, MD, and Stamford, CT, November 16, 2015 – Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) announced today that the boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved a definitive merger agreement under which the companies will create the world’s largest hotel company.
The transaction combines Starwood’s leading lifestyle brands and international footprint with Marriott’s strong presence in the luxury and select-service tiers, as well as the convention and resort segment, creating a more comprehensive portfolio. The merged company will offer broader choice for guests, greater opportunities for associates and should unlock additional value for Marriott and Starwood shareholders. Combined, the companies operate or franchise more than 5,500 hotels with 1.1 million rooms worldwide. The combined company’s pro forma fee revenue for the 12 months ended September 30, 2015 totals over $2.7 billion.
MilesGeek has been keeping tabs on the rumors of a possible acquisition of Starwood. There has been much conjecture over the past month that Starwood would be acquired and many guesses as to which company the final purchaser would be. Information released by Marriott has stated that for the near future both companies’ brands will continue to operate independently under their current structure and that there are no plans to merge or dissolve brands under either company.
The question on the minds of travelers is what will happen to the respective award programs under Marriott and Starwood. For now, they will remain separate and early reports are that they may continue to be separate programs. That is good news for current members. It remains to be seen if there will be a merger of the two award programs in the future and whether that would be a benefit or a negative to their members.
History of other mergers does raise some concerns as sometimes each individual benefit of the awards programs seems to settle on the lowest common denominator between the two.
For now, members of Marriott and Starwood can hope that either each program will remain separate or that if they merge it would result in increased benefits for members of both programs. MilesGeek will keep you posted as new information becomes available.