Starwood Hotels Jumps on Report of Chinese Firms' Interest

  • Shares have their biggest one-day gain since August 2009
  • Company announced in April it was exploring strategic options

A pedestrian walks past a Sheraton Hotel at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, Calif. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., owns the Sheraton brand.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. jumped the most in six years after the Wall Street Journal reported that at least three big Chinese companies are competing to buy the company.

Shanghai Jin Jiang International Hotels (Group) Co., HNA Group Co. and China Investment Corp. have presented separate proposals to the Chinese government for its approval to make a bid, the Journal reported Tuesday, citing people with knowledge of the discussions. Starwood rose 9.1 percent to close at $74.81, the biggest one-day gain since August 2009.

Chinese investors have flocked to U.S. real estate, from trophy properties to new developments. In February, China’s Anbang Insurance Group Co. bought New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel for $1.95 billion in the largest-ever purchase of a U.S. hotel.

“Chinese investors have been pretty aggressive in the hotel market over the last year or so,” said Lukas Hartwich, an analyst at Green Street Advisors LLC, a real estate research firm based in Newport Beach, California. “Starwood has some pretty powerful brands. It’s an attractive platform, especially if you don’t already own a platform with that kind of cachet.”

Carrie Bloom, a spokeswoman for Starwood Hotels, declined to comment. The company, based in Stamford, Connecticut, operates brands including Westin, W and St. Regis.

Starwood announced in April that it was exploring strategic options including a possible sale. The company, led by interim Chief Executive Officer Adam Aron after the resignation of longtime head Frits van Paasschen in February, had been lagging behind competitors such as Marriott International Inc. and Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. in expanding the number of hotels carrying its brands.

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