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Cravath and Skadden check-in as Starwood derails Marriott merger to seal Chinese hotel takeover

Cravath, Swaine & Moore, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher are advising as Westin owner Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has called off its $12.2bn buyout agreement with Marriott in favour of a $13.2bn offer from a group of investors led by China’s Anbang Insurance Group.

The consortium, which comprises Anbang, J.C. Flowers & Co. and China’s Primavera Capital, are offering to acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock of Starwood for a $78 per share in cash, an increase from the $76 per share proposal made by the consortium’s previous bid earlier this month.

According to the Starwood board, Anbang’s proposal constitutes a ‘superior offer’ and ‘the binding and fully financed proposal from the consortium provides a high degree of closing certainty’.

Cravath is representing Starwood with a team led by corporate partner Scott Barshay. The firm is also representing Starwood in connection with its existing agreement with Marriott.

Anbang has instructed Skadden as its legal adviser in the takeover bid with New York-based M&A partner Eileen Nugent, who is also the firm’s global co-head of transactions.

Advising Marriott is Gibson Dunn & Crutcher co-chair of the M&A practice group Stephen Glover. Marriott’s earlier deal with Starwood worth $12.2bn, would have catapulted it to become the world’s largest hotelier by a wide margin, adding 50% more rooms to Marriott’s portfolio.

The Chinese firm has been an aggressive buyer of US hotel properties of late and already owns New York’s iconic Waldorf Astoria.