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by Matt Alderton | November 16, 2015
Just a few weeks after it was reported that Hyatt Hotels Corp. was positioned to buy Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, another industry giant has swooped in and seized the deal, instead: Marriott International announced today that it is acquiring Starwood for $12.2 billion.

The deal, which will merge Marriott's portfolio of 4,300 properties with Starwood's portfolio of 1,200, will create the world's largest hotel company, totaling 5,500 hotels comprising 1.1 million rooms across 100 countries.

"The driving force behind this transaction is growth," Marriott International President and CEO Arne Sorenson said in a statement. "This is an opportunity to create value by combining the distribution and strengths of Marriott and Starwood, enhancing our competitiveness in a quickly evolving marketplace. This greater scale should offer a wider choice of brands to consumers, improve economics to owners and franchisees, increase unit growth, and enhance long-term value to shareholders. Today is the start of an incredible journey for our two companies. We expect to benefit from the best talent from both companies as we position ourselves for the future. I know we'll do great things together."

Added Starwood Interim CEO Adam Aron, "We are excited to play a vital role in the creation of the biggest and best hotel company in the world with tremendous upside potential. The combination of our two companies brings together the best in innovation, culture, and execution. Our guests and customers will benefit from so many more options across 30 hotel brands, while our hotel owners and franchisees will derive value from our combined global platform and efficiencies. We are also delighted that our associates will have expanded opportunities as part of a larger organization that is consistently recognized as one of the best companies to work for in the world."

Sorenson will remain president and CEO of Marriott International following the merger and Marriott's headquarters will remain in Bethesda, MD. Marriott's board will increase from 11 to 14 members with the expected addition of three members of the Starwood board of directors.

The transaction is expected to close in mid-2016.