Marriott struck back just three days after a group led by Chinese insurer Anbang topped Marriott's original bid. But an analyst says, don't count Anbang out just yet. Fred Katayama reports
Marriott striking back. It came out with a higher offer for Starwood Hotels just three days after a group led by Chinese insurer Anbang topped Marriott's original bid. Marriott is offering $440 million more than Anbang and more cash this time, but it's still a mix of cash and stock versus Anbang's all-cash bid. The owner of the Sheraton, Westin, and W brands signed Marriott's amended merger deal. Combining Starwood with the owner of the JW Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Courtyard brands would create the world's largest hotel company. Marriott says it'll save $250 million in costs within two years after the deal closes. But don't count Anbang out. Evercore ISI analyst Rich Hightower said, "It's impossible to say if it's a done deal. There's no reason why Anbang can't come right back and take it for even more." Starwood shares surging in early trading; Marriott fell. Anbang is a big deal maker that has been busy scooping up U.S. hotels such as the famed Waldorf-Astoria and Strategic Hotels. Buying U.S. assets is seen as a way to hedge against future weakness in the Chinese currency.