China approval for Marriott-Starwood merger may take months

(Marriott Starwood)

Marriott International's acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide should close—it just may now take a little more time. At the request of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, Marriott and Starwood have agreed to extend the time period for the Ministry to complete its review of the Marriott-Starwood merger. This additional review period, known as phase three, could last up to 60 days.

In a statement, both companies declared that they “continue to believe that their planned merger transaction poses no anti-competitive issues in China.” 

Approval by China’s Ministry of Commerce is the only remaining merger clearance required before the transaction may close. The companies have received unconditional pre-merger clearances from regulatory authorities representing over 40 countries worldwide, including the United States, the European Union, Canada, Chile, Colombia, India, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey.

Stockholders of both the companies approved the proposed acquisition at their individual shareholders meet in April. A full 97 percent of Marriott’s shareholders voted in favor of the proposal, and 95 percent of Starwood stockholders approved the merger. Until the merger is legally complete, the companies will keep on operating as separate and self-governing entities.