With Hilton Sale, Is Marriott Next?

The WSJ kicks off the speculation frenzy with a teaser of a story (subscription required) that ponders whether Marriott International might be in play now that private equity giant Blackstone has landed Hilton Hotels.

The story says Marriott shares have been ticking up in recent months on buyout rumors. "But 75-year-old Chairman and CEO J.W. "Bill" Marriott Jr., whose family controls the company, shows no signs of slowing down or selling."

Oh.

Meanwhile, investors overseas were gobbliing up hotel shares on the European exchanges Wednesday, betting that more acquistions are on the way.

By Dan Beyers  |  July 5, 2007; 6:19 AM ET  | Category:  Marriott International Corp.
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I wonder if the fact that his family's name is on the company would make it harder for Bill Marriott to sell out, since any change in quality or standards would be implicitly linked to him. I don't know what role the heirs of Conrad Hilton have played recently in that company (can't recall a single story about the way over-hyped young ones that mentioned any involvement in the hotel business), but that family is obviously beyond shame, anyway. For Bill, his family's name and reputation are paramount. I don't know if the fact that the Hyatt chain's controlling family wasn't named that (it was Pritzker, I believe) made it easier for them to unload the company, but it could have implications for what ultimately happens here.

Posted by: JJ | July 5, 2007 11:34 AM

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