Daily Archives: March 15, 2016

Marriott International Reaffirms Commitment To Merge With Starwood Hotels & Resorts

Marriott International, Inc today reaffirmed its commitment to acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc to create the world’s largest hotel company. The combined company will offer stockholders significant equity upside and greater long term value driven by a larger global footprint, wider choice of brands for consumers, improved economics to owners and franchisees leading to accelerated global growth and continued strong returns. Marriott is confident that the previously announced merger agreement is the best course for both companies.

On March 11, 2016 Starwood notified Marriott that it had received an unsolicited indication of interest in purchasing Starwood from a consortium of potential investors, led by Anbang Insurance Group. Marriott notes that this unsolicited indication of interest is highly conditional and non-binding.

Marriott granted Starwood a waiver to expedite its evaluation of the letter from the interested consortium.

Marriott will monitor this development as it and Starwood continue to work toward the closing of its transaction and the successful integration of the two companies in anticipation of votes by each company’s stockholders on March 28, 2016.

Starwood stated today that its Board of Directors has not changed its recommendation in support of Starwood’s merger with Marriott. Starwood has said that its Board, in consultation with its legal and financial advisors, will carefully consider the outcome of its discussions with the consortium in order to determine the course of action that it determines is in the best interest of Starwood and its stockholders.

Marriott and Starwood previously announced that they had satisfied the closing conditions in the merger agreement relating to the antitrust and competition authorities in the United States (under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended) and Canada, and the companies remain confident about achieving the remaining regulatory approvals and believe the combination can be closed expeditiously. Marriott has scheduled its special meeting of stockholders for March 28, 2016 for approval of the Starwood merger.

Marriott has sufficient cash resources to pay the cash portion of the merger consideration and there is no financing contingency in the merger agreement. Marriott expects that the Starwood merger will be completed by mid-year 2016. Under the terms of the merger agreement, should Starwood terminate its agreement with Marriott because it decides to enter into another deal or should Starwood change or withdraw its recommendation to its stockholders to vote in favor of the Marriott merger [and in certain other circumstances], Starwood would be obligated to pay Marriott a $400 million termination fee in cash.

Corporate Council On Africa Acquires Nation’s Premier Travel Organization For Africa

The nation’s oldest travel organization dedicated to U.S.-Africa tourism since 1975, and long considered the top global organization promoting tourism to Africa, will become an operating element under the Corporate Council on Africa effective immediately. The formal announcement was made at the New York Times Travel Show on January 8, 2016.

Stephen Hayes, President and CEO of the Corporate Council on Africa [CCA] said, “The addition of the Africa Travel Association [ATA] to our portfolio of activities strengthens both the Africa Travel Association and the Corporate Council on Africa. Tourism is an essential ingredient in growing the economies of Africa. The potential for growth and investment in tourism in nearly every country in Africa is simply huge, regardless of the stage of development.”

The opportunity to combine the two organization presented itself when long-time ATA Executive Director, Edward Bergman, announced he would step down from his position at the end of 2015, following the successful ATA 40th Annual World Congress in Nairobi, Kenya this past November. Edward Bergman added, “finding a home for the Africa Travel Association at the Council provides an opportunity for the travel industry within Africa and between the United States and the countries of Africa to reach new heights.

The Corporate Council’s focus on investment and development matches the requirements of today and supplements ATA’s existing cultural and historic tourism endeavors throughout Africa. It was hard to imagine a better match for both organizations.”

CCA has been a leading advocate for U.S.-Africa trade and investment since its founding in 1993 through a grant from then Secretary of Commerce, Ron Brown, and the United States Agency for International Development.

In the past 23 years, the council has grown to incorporate 180 corporations representing approximately 85 percent of all U.S. private investment in Africa. CCA focuses on various sectors for investment including infrastructure, financing, health, energy, power, and agribusiness.

Mr. Hayes added “Our background in working with major corporate players and investors who are looking for new opportunities in Africa is a perfect fit for the historical mission of the ATA for driving tourism growth on the African continent beyond its current global market share of this three percent of international travel.”

ATA will operate in Washington, DC as a division of the Corporate Council on Africa.