Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. on Wednesday reported a better-than-expected third-quarter profit and said it will sell its vacation unit for $1.5 billion.

The hotel owner’s shares jumped on the mix of positive news along with media speculation over a potential buyout offer. The stock gained almost 6 percent in midday trading.

The Stamford, Connecticut-based company earned $88 million, or 53 cents per share, during the third quarter. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, came to 74 cents per share.

The results exceeded Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 72 cents per share.

The owner of Sheraton and St. Regis hotels posted revenue of $1.43 billion in the period, which met Street forecasts.

Looking ahead, the company expects full-year earnings in the range of $2.96 to $3.02 per share.

The company said it will sell its vacation ownership unit to Interval Leisure Group Inc. for $1.5 billion.

Starwood Hotels shares rose $4.23, or 5.7 percent, to $79.04 in midday trading. The stock has risen 3.4 percent in the last 12 months.

Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights using data from Zacks Investment Research.

Photo Credit: Promotional image of Starwood's vacation product. Starwood Vacation Network