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Marriott to absorb Starwood

Changes could be in store for three or more of Kauai’s hotels thanks to a merger in the works between Marriott International and Starwood Hotels and Resorts.

Marriott has announced that it will absorb the rival chain in a $12.2 billion stock-cash deal, expected to close mid-2016.

That’s going to affect the Starwood-owned Sheraton Kauai Resort in Poipu, and the St. Regis, as well as The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas in Princeville. Marriott owns six hotels and resorts on the island.

Lester Leung, Starwood spokesman, declined to comment Monday.

While changes in individual hotels are still in the works, one main transformation is apparent: the merger will make Marriott International the largest hotel chain in the world.

Combined with Starwood’s properties, the company will have 30 brands with 1.1 million rooms in more than 5,500 hotels. Those hotels will be located in more than 100 countries.

That’s strides ahead of the nearest competitor, Hilton Worldwide, which boasts 4,500 properties and 735,000 rooms.

“To be successful in today’s marketplace, a wide distribution of brands and hotels across price points is critical,” Starwood CEO Adam Aron said on a call with Wall Street analysts on Monday. “It appeals to travelers wherever they may go, leverages marketing and technology spend(ing) and strengthens frequent traveler loyalty. Today, size matters.”

The boards of both companies have approved the merger unanimously and now it goes before investors in both chains.

Once it’s set in stone, details of the merger will be worked out in coming months.

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