Marriott International Inc's acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. for $12.2 billion has edged out the Tata Sons-promoted Taj group of Hotels, which, until last week, was India's largest hospitality player in terms of number of rooms.
However the gap is still narrow with Marriott and Starwood now having 13, 500 rooms and Tata Group properties a close second with 13,200 rooms. Globally, Marriott and Starwood have 5,600 hotels with 1.1 million rooms.
The Marriott and Starwood together will offer 13 different brands in India, which include the Ritz Carton, JW Marriott and Marriott, St Regis, Westin, Sheraton and Le Meridien.
Post the acquisition, India's hospitality landscape will be significantly impacted thanks to the massive, combined membership base of 70 million and would possibly help them offer discounted rates and more incentives to lure customers. "This will be a big pull for guests and make a huge difference for other hotels in India," a senior official of a leading Indian hotel chain told the Times of India.
Though Starwood had been up for sale since earlier this year, the emergence of Marriott as a buyer was a surprise. The Hyatt was a leading contender but since spring, according to the Wall Street Journal, the stocks of Marriott and Starwood have declined at least 9 percent and trends like the stronger dollar and competition from the room-sharing start-up Airbnb have made consolidation more attractive, according to analysts.
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