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China Approves Marriott’s Acquisition of Starwood Hotels

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Following a weeks-long delay with regulators in China, the Marriott/Starwood merger has finally cleared its last remaining hurdle. According to a Marriott press release, the merger will now be moving forward, and is scheduled to close before the stock market opens on Friday morning, September 23.

Here’s the word from Marriott:

Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) today announced their merger transaction has received approval from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM). As this was the last regulatory approval required to complete the merger, Marriott and Starwood are now able to proceed with closing the transaction and expect the transaction to be completed before the market opens on September 23, pending satisfaction of customary closing requirements. Upon closing, Marriott will solidify its status as the world’s largest hotel company.

What does this mean for you? Well, it’ll be business as usual immediately following the merger as the two hotel giants begin to merge, but eventually the Starwood Preferred Guest program will be folded into Marriott Rewards, at which point Starpoints will be converted to Marriott Rewards points at a to-be-determined rate. If you have a large stockpile of SPG points, it might be time to get some redemptions on the radar, though Marriott CEO Arne Sorensen has repeatedly offered that a massive devaluation is not on the horizon.

To recap everything that’s happened to date regarding the merger, check out these posts below:

May 1, 2015 — Rumors of IHG preparing a bid to acquire Starwood
October 28, 2015 — Starwood CEO Adam Aron mentions the possibility of a sale during an earnings call
November 16, 2015 — Marriott announces its intention to acquire Starwood
November 20, 2015 — Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson addresses questions about Marriott and SPG
January 22, 2016 — TPG chatted SPG with Marriott’s Vice President of Loyalty
February 24, 2016 — TPG shares plans to attend a Marriott loyalty forum in Los Angeles
March 14, 2016 — Starwood and Marriott acknowledge Anbang’s bid
March 18, 2016 — Starwood accepts Anbang’s bid
March 18, 2016 — Starwood CEO Tom Mangas addresses the latest acquisition news
March 21, 2016  — Marriott Outbids Anbang with Latest Offer for Starwood
March 28, 2016 — Marriott Isn’t Submitting a Higher Bid for Starwood Hotels
March 31, 2016 — Anbang Won’t Be Acquiring Starwood After All
April 19, 2016 — Marriott’s Integrating Some SPG Benefits Long Before the Merger
May 11, 2016 — Two Hotel Owners Suing Marriott and Starwood Over Upcoming Merger
August 9, 2016 — China’s Been Holding up the Starwood-Marriott Merger

How do you feel about the imminent Marriott/Starwood merger?

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