Even before its acquisition by Marriott is fully completed, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide may sell some of its top-branded hotels. According to Bloomberg, the company "may be in talks" to sell high-end properties like the St. Regis New York. CEO Tom Mangas said that the initiative is geared toward finding buyers this year for its remaining hotels.
On Starwood’s fourth-quarter earnings conference call Thursday, Mangas said that sovereign-wealth funds and insurance companies "continue to have a strong appetite for hotels in gateway cities as they seek to diversify their holdings." When asked about the prospect of selling assets—including the St. Regis in Manhattan and the Westin Maui Resort & Spa—he declined to comment in detail. “I don’t want to comment too much about where valuations are or will be because we might be working on trying to lock down specific valuations,” he said during the call.
Mangas also noted that Starwood is focused on selling North American and European properties, while economic conditions in Latin America pose challenges for sales in that region. Starwood has 19 hotels valued at about $800 million left to sell, excluding five worth about $200 million that are part of the planned spinoff of its timeshare business, he said.