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Marriott International, Inc. and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. have announced that, at the request of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), they have agreed to extend the time period for MOFCOM to complete its review of the Marriott-Starwood merger transaction. This additional review period, known as phase three, could last up to 60 days.
Marriott and Starwood continue to believe that their planned merger transaction poses no anti-competitive issues in China, the two companies said in a statement announcing the extension. Approval by China's Ministry of Commerce is the only remaining merger clearance required before the transaction may close. The companies have received unconditional pre-merger clearances from regulatory authorities representing over 40 countries worldwide, including the United States, the European Union, Canada, Chile, Colombia, India, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey.
In terms of what the merger will mean for the two companies’ hotels, earlier this year Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson told Travel Agent that plans are for the two companies to keep all of their luxury hotel brands.
Marriott’s luxury brands include Ritz-Carlton, Bulgari, Edition and Autograph, while those for Starwood include St. Regis, The Luxury Collection and W Hotels. Sorenson told us that the demographics for luxury travel are positive for the long term, so the two companies want to keep as many strong brands in the space as possible while still delivering distinct experiences.
The deal is set to create the world’s largest hotel company, as well as the world’s largest hotel loyalty program.