Monday Minute – 11/16/2015

Marriott International buys Starwood Hotels in $12bn deal

By BBC News

US hoteliers Marriott International and Starwood Hotels have agreed a $12.2bn (£8bn) deal to create the world’s biggest hotel company. Combined, the two firms have more than 5,500 hotels with 1.1 million rooms and $2.7bn in revenue. The two boards have “unanimously agreed” to the deal, under which Marriott will buy Starwood.

The tie-up will see them overtake the UK’s Intercontinental Hotels, which has just under 5,000 hotels. J.W. Marriott, Jr, chairman of the Maryland-based company, said: “We have competed with Starwood for decades and we have also admired them.”

Marriott chief executive Arne Sorenson, who will head the new group, said the two firms hoped to become “the world’s favourite travel company”.

Starwood shares dropped 5.7% in early trading on Wall Street to $70.75, while Marriott shares fell 1% to $72. The deal will combine Marriott’s 19 brands, including Ritz-Carlton and Fairfield Inn, with Starwood’s Westin, W and St. Regis chains.

Marriott will pay $11.9bn in stock and the rest in cash, and hopes to have the acquisition completed by mid-2016.

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Japan Faces Another Recession As Company Spending Declines


Japan has once again slipped back into recession, casting new doubts upon whether “Abenomics,” its much-touted economic-reform agenda, is succeeding.

The economy contracted by .8 percent in the third quarter of 2015, following a decline of .7 percent in the preceding quarter.

It was the fourth time in five years that the Japanese economy entered a recession, which is usually defined as two successive quarters of negative growth. The government said consumption by the private sector rose by .5 percent during the quarter, in line with expectations.

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China’s yuan a step closer to joining IMF currency basket

By YLAN Q. MUI, The Washington Post

The International Monetary Fund on Friday recommended including China’s renminbi as one of the world’s reserve currencies, a milestone in the nation’s efforts to fully integrate into the global economy.

China applied to join the elite group last year, igniting controversy from Beijing to Washington over the depth of reforms within the world’s second-largest economy. In a statement, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said that the fund’s staff had determined that the currency, also known as the yuan, now met the key criterion of being “freely usable.”

China is in the midst of a sweeping economic transformation, simultaneously attempting to open markets once heavily controlled by the state while downshifting from a manufacturing and export boom to more stable growth driven by consumers. The journey has been rocky, resulting in a roller-coaster summer for financial markets around the world.

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