Marriott Is Smoothing Out The Lumps In Its Bed

Few companies were as sorry to see the supercharged `80s come to an end as Marriott Corp. The giant hotelier used last decade's financial fads--leverage, limited partnerships, and tax-driven real estate deals--to become one of the nation's most profitable developers. It all worked so swimmingly: Marriott would develop a hotel site, sell the lodge for a nice profit to investor groups, and then collect lucrative fees to manage the property. Over the decade, the $8.3 billion lodging and food-service concern expanded its rooms sixfold, to 150,000.

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