When Marriott International’s $12.2 billion bid for Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide was announced on Monday morning, investors and analysts were surprised.
It was not the sale itself — Starwood, whose brands include Westin, W and Sheraton, had effectively put itself up for sale in late April — but that the buyer was Marriott.
Of all the rumored suitors — Hyatt Hotels Corporation, InterContinental Hotels Group and a few Chinese companies — Marriott had not been seen as being in the mix. On Marriott’s earnings call on April 30, the company’s chief executive, Arne Sorenson, waved off a question about a combination, saying it was inconsistent with its previous acquisition strategy.
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