At least three big Chinese firms are vying to bid for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, which operates more than 1,200 properties worldwide under brands such as Westin, W Hotels and St. Regis, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Shanghai Jin Jiang International Hotels (Group) Co., HNA Group and China Investment Corp. have presented separate proposals to the Chinese government for approval to bid for the Stamford-based hotel operator, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.
Any offer is likely to be at a significant premium to Starwood’s market value, which was nearly US$12 billion at the start of Tuesday.
If a deal materializes, it could mark the largest-ever Chinese takeover of a US firm.
Given the potential size of the deal, Beijing wants only one company to make a bid, to ensure that firms don’t push up the price by bidding against one another, the report said.
A decision is expected in the next few weeks on who should finally make an offer.
Starwood said earlier this year that it is exploring strategic options including a possible sale.
Following the news of Chinese interest, Starwood shares surged 9.1 percent on Tuesday to US$74.81, posting their biggest one-day gain in six years.
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