Marriott Buys Starwood

Marriott will acquire Starwood to create the largest hotel company in the world with 1.1 million rooms in more than 5,500 hotels. Crain's Chicago Business reported that Hyatt and Starwood were in "advanced discussion" about an acquisition, but Marriott is the ultimate winner. 

Marriott's statement included quotations from Arne Sorenson, Marriott's CEO who will lead both organizations; JW Marriott, Marriott chairman of the board; Bruce Duncan, Starwood's chairman of the board; and Adam Aron, Starwood's interim CEO. 

Sorenson focused on growth potential: 

"The driving force behind this transaction is growth. This is an opportunity to create value by combining the distribution and strengths of Marriott and Starwood, enhancing our competitiveness in a quickly evolving marketplace.  This greater scale should offer a wider choice of brands to consumers, improve economics to owners and franchisees, increase unit growth and enhance long-term value to shareholders.  Today is the start of an incredible journey for our two companies.  We expect to benefit from the best talent from both companies as we position ourselves for the future.  I know we'll do great things together as The World's Favorite Travel Company."

Communication was prominent on the website and swift to Starwood Preferred Guests (SPG), members of the loyalty program. Members worry how their points will be affected by the deal. In contrast, general news of the acquisition was hidden under a "News" link at the bottom of the page. This is the same statement that appears on Marriott's website.

Starwood SPG

Discussion Starters: 

  • Analyze the companies' statement; it's an unconventional press release. Why would they choose this format? Does the message convince you the acquisition is a good decision? Would you react differently if you were an investor or guest?
  • Explain the announcement to SPG members on the Starwood home page. Why is this communication so important?