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Posted 07 May 2001   For week ended May 04, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 02May01

By Rosemary Pollock

Marriott Expected to Win Le Meridien Auction

LONDON, ENGLAND -- The bid by the Marriott Corp. for the Compass Group's upmarket Le Meridien Hotel chain, submitted Monday, is expected to beat that of Nomura to win the auction, industry sources say. Final bids in the range of $2.44-2.58 billion were due Monday to finish what has been the world's largest hotels auction. An announcement of the winner could come as early as today.

Marriott and Japanese Bank Nomura had considered a joint $2.87 billion bid for Le Meridien, industry sources said in mid-April. But the two firms, the only remaining bidders in the final round of the months-long auction process, were unable to come to terms.

Marriott, founded by the Marriott family who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is looking at the bid for Le Meridien to allow them a major expansion outside of the U.S. The purchase would include 146 luxury 4 and 5 star Le Meridien Hotels, along with London's Grosvenor House and Waldorf hotels. Marriott reportedly plans to sell some of the United Kingdom hotels to its partner, Whitbread, which runs most of the Marriott branded hotels in the UK.

"Marriott is in the driving seat, and looks certain to put in a winning bid," said one source close to the talks. Marriott is likely to rebrand Meridien hotels if they are successful in the bidding.

Sources close to the companies report that Compass may struggle to sell the Meridien chain for over two billion pounds as the threat of global economic slowdown has put hotel prices under pressure. Marriott investors will be briefed on the deal at an analyst meeting in Washington on May 7.


Marriott to make strong Meridien bid
Reuters 30Apr01 B4
By David Jones

Nomura, Marriott consider joint Meridien bid
Reuters 14Apr01 B4

See also:

Marriott in Auction Battle to Acquire Hotel Group


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