Following the terrorist attacks in Brussels on March 22 (and the U.S. State Department’s subsequent travel alert), it appears that U.S. business travel to Europe has only marginally slowed. According to a poll by the Global Business Travel Association, 47 percent of respondents planned to make no changes at all to travel plans to or within Europe. Of those that did plan to make changes, most said that they would limit travel slightly. To read more, click here.
When Anbang Insurance Group unexpectedly walked away last week from its planned $14 billion offer for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, it left plenty of people scratching their heads. The Chinese bidder vaguely cited “market considerations” as its reason. Fred Hu, chairman of Primavera Capital Group, a partner in Anbang’s bid, told the Wall Street Journal the consortium dropped out because the deal had become too expensive. Providing proof of financing has been a consistent problem for Anbang in its quest for Starwood, but the insurer seemed to have overcome those financing concerns in March, when it submitted the $13.2 billion offer that threatened to derail the Mariott-Starwood merger. When rival suitor Marriott topped that bid, Anbang came back with a $14 billion offer, but it was never made binding. Anbang’s abrupt withdrawal has added fuel to concerns that many Chinese companies may not be able to deliver on their acquisition expectations, Reuters writes. To read more, click here.
Although growth in key hospitality performance indicators will likely moderate this year, with supply growth exerting the greatest pressure, the competitive debt marketplace continues to offer options for hotel investors, according to Marcus & Millichap’s 2016 U.S. Hospitality Investment Forecast. Select-service assets remain favored for their lean operating models and efficiencies, and private investors focusing on smaller assets remain particularly active. For the full forecast, click here.
The hiring boom in the U.S. job market continues, with new data from the Labor Department showing employers added 215,000 jobs in March. The unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 5 percent, compared to 4.9 percent in January and February. According to the ADP National Franchise report, the accommodations sector experienced a second consecutive month of solid growth in March. To read more, click here.
The Starwood sale saga appears to be coming to a close now that Anbang Insurance Group has withdrawn its $14 billion bid to acquire the company. Anbang and its partners decided not to follow through on its raised offer due to “market considerations.” Their surprise withdrawal clears the way for Marriott to seal the deal. Read more here.
Despite growing interest in Cuba as a destination, with 42 percent of Americans indicating a desire to visit the island, 70 percent of travelers are currently unlikely to make the trip, according to a survey by travel insurer Allianz Global Assistance. Respondents to the survey, which was conducted during President Obama’s historic visit to Cuba, cited safety concerns, lack of traveler information and unease over visiting the communist-governed country. To read more, click here.