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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended January 26, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 23Jan01

By Kent Larsen

Marriott in Auction Battle to Acquire Hotel Group

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM -- Marriott Corp. is one of the bidders seeking to buy the Forte Hotels group in an auction expected to be the world's biggest. The third round of the auction will continue this week, and is expected to be completed in March. Marriott, founded and run by the Marriott family, members of the LDS Church, is looking at the chain of hotels to make a major expansion outside of the US.

Currently Marriott has more than 2,000 hotels in the US, but only 58 outside of the US. This purchase would include 146 luxury 4 and 5 star Le Meridien hotels, as well as 129 other hotels in the UK. If successful, the UK hotels would go to Marriott's UK partner, Whitbread, which already manages the Marriott hotels in the UK.

But Marriott is facing stiff competition in the bidding from London-based Bass, the world's second largest hotel group, best known as the current owner of the Crown Plaza and Holiday Inn brands. Bass is flush with cash and has almost no debt after the sale last year of its Belgian brewing business, leaving it in a good financial position to make a successful bid. The sale would make Bass the world's largest hotel group, more than 50% larger than Marriott.

The sale is expected to fetch $5.14 billion. The round of bidding this week will narrow the bidders to three, with a final round to be concluded in March.


Partner for Bass in $9bn Forte bid
Melbourne Australia The Australian 20Jan01 B4
By Teresa Ooi

Marriott, Bass vie to book up Compass hotels-sources
Excite News (Reuters) 16Jan01 B4
By David Jones and Arindam Nag


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