Marriott Boss Plays Down Mega Deal With Starwood

The senior official did not completely rule out the idea of a takeover saying there are “constantly deals in our industry”.

The prospect of a mega deal involving Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts is “unlikely” said Arne Sorenson, president and CEO for Marriott International, speaking at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference today.

But while qualifying that there was no precedent for combining such a breadth of brands under one company, he appeared to not completely rule out the idea saying there are “constantly deals in our industry”.

“There are frequent flyer programmes, online sites, owners’ requirements – these are complicated questions,” he said.

Last week Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide announced that its board of directors has determined a “full range of strategic and financial alternatives” to increase shareholder value. Starwood reported EPS in the first quarter of $0.58 compared with $0.71 in Q1 2014.

Sorenson said he anticipated four scenarios. “Either Marriott or Hilton acquires them, they acquire someone else equally strong, they receive a buyer from Middle East or Asia who wants a platform or it’s ‘steady as it goes’ and they sell off real estate or get a new CEO…they’re all potentially likely outcomes, except perhaps the first one.”

Starwood regional managers declined to comment.