Anbang, PE firms abandon bid for Starwood Hotels: Reuters

(Reuters) China’s Anbang Insurance Group Co has abandoned its bid for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc (HOT.N), people familiar with the matter said on Thursday, paving the way for Marriott International Inc (MAR.O) to buy the Sheraton and Westin hotels operator.

The surprise withdrawal marks an anticlimactic end to a bidding war that had pitted Marriott’s ambitions to create the world’s largest lodging company, with about 5,700 hotels, against Anbang’s drive to create a vast portfolio of U.S. real estate assets.

Anbang did not give a reason for not following through on its raised offer of March 26, the people said on Thursday. Starwood said on Monday that Anbang had raised its offer to almost $14 billion.

The sources asked not to be identified because the withdrawal has not been announced. Anbang, Starwood and Marriott declined to provide immediate comment.

In its latest offer, Anbang’s consortium, which includes private equity firms J.C. Flowers & Co and Primavera Capital Ltd, had offered $82.75 per share in cash. Marriott’s latest cash-and-stock offer, which was announced on March 21, is currently worth around $75 per share.

Starwood’s shares fell 4.4 percent to $79.80 in extended trading, while Marriott shares fell 4.9 percent to $67.68.

Starwood’s shareholders are scheduled to vote on the Marriott deal on April 8.

(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Richard Chang)