Skift Take

The Marriott-Starwood deal is Marriott's to lose if this rival takeover bid proves to be binding.

CNBC “Mad Money” television host and money manager Jim Cramer appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” show yesterday morning to talk about the markets, and some of the biggest news of the day—the rival takeover bid for Starwood Hotels & Resorts from a group being led by Anbang Insurance Group, J.C. Flowers & Co., and Primavera Capital Group.

Speaking to “Squawk on the Street” co-anchor David Farber about this new bid and the proposed Marriott-Starwood merger, Cramer was quick to express his thoughts.

Cramer said that when Marriott and Starwood announced their merger agreement and their reasons behind it, it wasn’t necessarily as ground-breaking as industry watchers hoped it would be:

“… When I said ‘half-hearted defense’ what I really meant was I thought that they [Starwood and Marriott] came on said a decent story about the combination and nobody cared. It was almost as if, ‘Listen, we don’t want either.'”

This new all-cash offer from Anbang, coupled with the fact that it is close closing its $6.5-billion purchase of Strategic Hotels & Resorts, is potentially a game changer in the hospitality landscape, says Cramer.

“Suddenly, this new company comes in and re-evaluates the price of hotels,” Cramer said, referring to Anbang. “It’s not like we’re building a lot of new hotels. That’s one of the things that made this deal so special. It’s not like there’s this resurgence of hotel building. There’s a scarcity. I like this deal from Anbang.”

Cramer isn’t the only analyst who thinks the deal from Anbang and company could be an attractive option for Starwood to consider.

In a note to investors issued on March 15, Baird Equity Research managing director and senior real estate research analyst David Loeb wrote, “… If this bid becomes binding (the consortium has diligence rights through March 17), we would view the consortium’s bid, which represents 13.7x 2016E earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (inclusive of the termination fee), as superior to Marriott’s mostly stock consideration. Chinese money remains active, which is a positive for valuations across the hotel sector.”

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Tags: anbang, hotels, marriott, marwood, starwood

Photo credit: Jim Cramer, appearing on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" on March 14. CNBC

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