Hotels Chinese group challenges Marriott for Starwood By Danny King / March 14, 2016 Share 1 -- Starwood Hotels & Resorts has received an unsolicited buyout offer of $76 per share, or about $12.8 billion, from a group led by China-based Anbang Insurance Group.Marriott International and Starwood reached a buyout agreement in November for $72.08 a share, or about $12.2 billion at the time, about $600 million less than Anbang's offer this week. But, should Starwood terminate that agreement, it would owe Marriott $400 million in cash, according to Marriott.Starwood on Monday said it received the Anbang offer on March 10 and received a waiver from Marriott to start discussions with the group the following day. That waiver expires March 17. At $76 a share, the offer is 7.9% more than Starwood’s closing stock price Friday.“Starwood’s board of directors has not changed its recommendation in support of Starwood’s merger with Marriott,” Starwood said in a statement Monday. “The board, in consultation with its legal and financial advisors, will carefully consider the outcome of its discussions with the consortium in order to determine the course of action that is in the best interest of Starwood and its stockholders.”Marriott and Starwood shareholders are scheduled to vote on the Marriott-Starwood agreement on March 28, and Marriott has said it expects the acquisition to close mid-year. “Marriott International today reaffirmed its commitment to acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide to create the world’s largest hotel company,” Marriott said in a statement Monday. “Marriott is confident that the previously announced merger agreement is the best course for both companies.“As with the Marriott agreement, Starwood shareholders would receive Interval Leisure Group shares for its Vistana Signature Experiences vacation-ownership unit, which is under contract to be spun off to Interval. Anbang notably acquired the Waldorf Astoria New York from Hilton Worldwide last February for $1.95 billion and said it would invest in a major renovation of the property. Hilton retained a 100-year management contract on the 1,416-room hotel. Over the weekend, Anbang agreed to acquire Strategic Hotels & Resorts from private equity firm Blackstone Group for about $6.5 billion, according to reports. Strategic has 16 hotels in its portfolio under several brands, including Fairmont, Four Seasons, InterContinental, Ritz-Carlton and Westin.