Door opened to possible Starwood takeover

Leading hotel company Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has opened the door to a possible takeover.

The parent of brands such as Le Meridien, Sheraton and Westin announced plans to “explore a full range of strategic and financial alternatives to increase shareholder value”.

Investment bank Lazard has been hired to assist in the process.

Starwood chairman Bruce Duncan said: “Our board has always been focused on maximising long-term shareholder value, and this is a time of enormous opportunity and change in our industry.

“Accordingly, we will thoroughly explore the full range of strategic and financial alternatives available to Starwood to capitalise on our industry-leading global platform and best-in-class premium brands.

“No option is off the table, and we will take the time we need to thoroughly evaluate our opportunities and achieve the best result for our shareholders, business partners, and associates.”

The company, which has more than 1,200 properties in 100 countries, said it was at the “beginning stage of the strategic and financial review, and no assurance can be given as to its outcome or timing”.

Starwood added that it “does not intend to make any further public comment regarding the review until it has been completed”.

The disclosure came as the group revealed a drop in first quarter income of $110 million against $122 million in the same period in 2014.

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