Skift Take

We'll go out on a limb and say what's good for Wall Street is rarely good for the guest experience. While the value of a Hyatt buy still has much to be debated, an independent Starwood is so much more interesting.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc. climbed as much as 11 percent in New York trading after CNBC’s David Faber reported that Hyatt Hotels Corp. is in advanced talks to buy the lodging company.

The shares were up 7.2 percent to $80.18 at 9:45 a.m., after rising as high as $82.83 earlier. Faber said a deal could come as soon as next week, citing people familiar with the talks.

Starwood, whose brands include W, Westin and St. Regis, announced in April that it was exploring strategic options, including a possible sale. The company, led by interim Chief Executive Officer Adam Aron after the resignation of longtime head Frits van Paasschen in February, had been lagging behind competitors such as Marriott International Inc. and Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. in expanding the number of hotels carrying its brands.

One benefit to a takeover by Chicago-based Hyatt “would definitely be the scale of the combined platforms,” said Lukas Hartwich, a lodging analyst at Green Street Advisors LLC. “Combined, the two companies would have over 500,000 rooms, which would considerably close the gap between them and Hilton and Marriott.”

At least three Chinese firms also are vying to acquire Starwood, said a person with knowledge of the matter. HNA Group Co., hotelier Jin Jiang International (Holdings) Co. and sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp. have each applied to the Chinese government for approval to proceed with offers for all or part of the Stamford, Connecticut-based hotel company, the person said.

Also Wednesday, Starwood said its timeshare unit, Vistana Signature Experiences, will be spun off and acquired by Miami-based Interval Leisure Group Inc. Starwood shareholders will retain a 55 percent stake in the enlarged company.

This article was written by Oshrat Carmiel and Hui-yong Yu from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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Tags: hyatt, starwood

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