Starwood CEO 'disappointed' Anbang didn't stick around a little while longer

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Starwood Hotels & Resorts CEO Thomas Mangus said Friday he was “disappointed” that a consortium led by Anbang Insurance Group withdrew its $14.1 billion buyout offer but was “excited” for the prospect of Marriott International owning Starwood.

Speaking on a conference call broadcast from the New York Marriott Marquis on Friday, Mangus complimented Anbang for its efforts, saying that the company’s offer was “very credible” and that Anbang ”moved mountains” in trying to acquire Starwood.

Anbang’s group, which included J.C. Flowers & Co. and Primavera Capital Ltd., made an offer of $82.75 per Starwood share before withdrawing it, citing “market considerations.”

“We worked in good faith to drive as much value for this transaction as we could, and were disappointed when we couldn’t take that final step,” Mangas said. 

Mangas encouraged a “yes” vote from stockholders for the Marriott agreement, noting that it is now "the only deal on the table."

Meanwhile, Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson defended his company’s decision to boost its bid for Starwood after Anbang’s first offer, calling that offer “breathtaking” and “highly credible.” 

Under Marriott’s buyout agreement, Starwood shareholders will receive $21 in cash and 0.80 shares of Marriott Class A common stock for each share of Starwood common stock. The deal is valued at about $13.3 billion, about $1.1 billion more than Marriott’s original agreement to buy Starwood in November.

Despite the higher purchase price, Sorenson said on Friday’s call that it would be “very surprising” if Marriott shareholders didn’t vote for the acquisition.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be here,” Sorenson said. “We have zero buyer’s remorse.”

Sorenson added that U.S. and Canada regulatory agencies already have cleared the acquisition, and that he is confident that European and Chinese regulators will do likewise because Marriott’s market share in Europe and China is “quite light.”

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