Why ADIA or GIC Could be Ideal Owners for Starwood Hotels


Earlier Stamford-based Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. publicly announced it was exploring strategic alternatives by hiring investment bank Lazard. Bruce Duncan, Starwood’s chairman, said on a conference call that “no option is off the table.” This could mean the hotel giant could be open to a takeover, buyout of another company, sell-off of assets or splitting the company up. Starwood owns many brands including the W Hotels, Sheraton, St. Regis and Westin. Starwood has an extensive vacation ownership business. In February, Frits van Paasschen resigned as CEO of Starwood. Adam Aron is interim CEO of Starwood. According to SWFI’s Sovereign Wealth Fund Transaction Database, from January 2014 to April 2015, not counting fund commitments, sovereign wealth funds spent well over US$ 5 billion in direct developed hotel real estate.

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Sovereign Wealth Fund Buyers

Real estate is a significant asset class in the portfolios of sovereign funds. Sovereign wealth funds are attracted to hospitality assets. When properly managed, hotels can generate substantial cash flows. Hotels are capital intensive businesses – sovereign wealth funds could provide financial firepower. Globally, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) are major acquirers of hotels. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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