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Starwood Hotels & Resorts has received a $12.84 billion buyout offer from a consortium led by China’s Anbang Insurance Group, threatening to derail its planned takeover by Marriott International. The consortium made the unsolicited offer on March 10 to acquire Starwood for $76 per share in cash. This tops Marriott’s offer of $72.08 per share in stock and cash, which valued Starwood at $12.18 billion on Nov. 16. That offer is now worth about $11 billion as Marriott shares have dropped 6.5 percent since, according to Reuters. Marriott today reaffirmed its commitment to acquire Starwood, and said it will monitor this development as the two companies continue to work toward closing their transaction. Each company’s stockholders are scheduled to vote on the merger on March 28. If Starwood called off the deal with Marriott, it would be obligated to pay a $400 million termination fee. Beijing-based insurer Anbang is on a buying spree, having just agreed to purchase Strategic Hotels & Resorts from the Blackstone Group for $6.5 billion, only three months after Blackstone completed its acquisition the company. The deal eclipses Anbang’s $1.95 billion purchase last year of New York’s Waldorf Astoria as the biggest U.S. real estate deal by a Chinese buyer, Bloomberg reports. To read more, click here.

In an effort to dismiss potential rumors that other travel websites offer lower rates for its hotels, Marriott International will begin to offer discounted room rates exclusive to Marriott Rewards members who book directly or through appointed corporate travel professionals. To read more, click here.

According to hospitality expert Sabre, millennials will become the largest spenders on hotels as soon as next year. This prediction comes from data gathered by Sabre about the millennial demographic, which will become the largest spending travel demographic by 2020. Sabre analyzed approximately 10,000 booking engines and 20 million transactions. For more information about this new data, click here.

Following a year that saw major hotel companies wheeling and dealing toward a more consolidated marketplace, Reuters is expecting to see even more merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the hospitality space in 2016. There are a number of drivers behind this activity, such as growing competition from online entities like Airbnb, a need for brands to have a more global presence, and the importance of size when dealing with OTAs like Booking.com and Expedia. And, as hotel companies get larger, smaller entities may be looking to join forces with the big names in order to reap some of the benefits of a big brand. “You’re going to see more mergers and acquisitions and alliances, because everyone needs to put himself in a better bargaining position,” said David Kong, CEO of Best Western. To read more, click here.

A new British Airways survey of 2,000 U.S. baby boomers shows that the generation wants to travel the world, but feels hindered by work and cost. More than a fifth surveyed said they haven’t traveled more due to work commitments. Nearly two-thirds of women and 48 percent of men said they have never acquired a passport because they don’t believe they can afford to travel overseas. Read more here.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts has sent a letter to Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, urging him to oppose a religious freedom bill that, in its current form, could lead to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Starwood General Counsel Kenneth Siegel said the legislation is contrary to the company’s core values of diversity and inclusiveness and will have a profound negative financial impact on its 17 managed and franchised hotels in Georgia. The bill has passed Georgia’s House and Senate. Read more here.

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