With more than a million rooms combined, Marriott and Starwood now make up the largest hotel company in the world.
After months of rumors about a takeover of the struggling Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide hotel company, in the end, it was Marriott International that sealed the deal. Marriott announced this morning that it would acquire Starwood Hotels and all its brands, including St. Regis Hotels, W Hotels, and Sheraton Hotels, for $12.2 billion. This merger will make Marriott-Starwood the largest hotel company in the world, with about 5,500 hotels, 30 different brands, and more than a million hotel rooms to its name. It will also give Marriott a much-needed edge overseas, as about two-thirds of Starwood’s revenue comes from international properties.The deal is expected to be completed in mid-2016.
UPDATE 9/20/16: It’s official! After some 40 countries (including the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom) where the two hotel brands have properties okayed the deal, the final holdout of China gave the Marriott-Starwood merger a “yes” yesterday. That means that the merger is official as of close of business on September 23 (that builds in time to sign paperwork). According to Reuters, the combined mega-hotel group has a total of 1.1 billion rooms worldwide and is now worth $36 billion.
Original story continues below.
Other than boardroom changes (Marriott will increase their members from 11 to 14, with CEO Arne Sorenson leading the newly combined company), many details of how this merger will shake out for actual hotel guests are still unknown. At stake is the Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program, which is arguably one of the best hotel loyalty programs out there, with plenty of ways to earn and redeem points through partnerships with Uber and American Express. A recent merger between InterContinental Hotel Group and Kimpton Hotels left their individual loyalty programs alone, so this could happen with Marriott and Starwood as well. But as evidenced by a note posted this morning on SPG.com, while things remain as they were for now, changes will definitely be coming once the details are hammered out.
The deal will also bring together competing brands like Marriott’s flagship brand and Sheraton; Edition Hotels and W Hotels; Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis; Moxy Hotels and Aloft Hotels; and many more. But that leads to even more questions: Can all these brands preserve their individual identities? Or will some of them fall away? We’ll find out next year when the merger is complete. In the meantime, stay tuned.
This article was originally published in November 2015. It has been updated with new information.