Starwood Hotels & Resorts to Acquire Stakein German-Based Design Hotels AG

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Dec 06, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT) announced today that it has signed an agreement to acquire 49.8% of the shares of Design Hotels AG from Arabella Hospitality SE, one of Starwood's longtime partners in Germany. Berlin-based Design Hotels, a publicly traded company and provider of distribution, sales, marketing and consulting services for hotels boasts a portfolio of over 200 member hotels in 40 countries. Design Hotels' hand-picked collection of hotels are independently owned, but united by a passion for thought-provoking design, aesthetic and service-driven experiences.

The opportunity to acquire a stake in Design Hotels came through Starwood's relationship with Arabella Hospitality SE, which recently re-focused its hotel strategy mainly on ownership and asset management and as a result chose to divest its shares in Design Hotels. Starwood continues to manage or franchise 20 of Arabella Hospitality SE's hotels in Europe.

"This is an investment presented to us by a longtime partner," said Frits van Paasschen, President and CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts. "With our own passion for design and innovation, we have long admired Design Hotels, its founder, CEO Claus Sendlinger, and his executive team, who have worked closely with some of the world's most exciting independent hotel owners to curate a unique collection of hotels around the globe. As a shareholder, we are delighted to have a seat at the table of this dynamic company."

"Arabella Hospitality SE has been an enthusiastic shareholder of Design Hotels AG for a decade. We are extremely pleased to transfer our shares to our long-term partner Starwood, an international player with extensive experience in lifestyle and design-led branding," said Dr. Klaus N. Naeve, Chairman of the Administrative Board of Arabella Hospitality SE.

"Having Starwood with its leading global footprint and lifestyle brands as an investor is a further validation that Design Hotels is a strong brand of global relevance as we continue to grow and focus on our niche in the New Luxury hotel segment," said Claus Sendlinger. "Furthermore, Starwood has a keen appreciation for what makes Design Hotels distinct and special, the creative spirit of our visionary hoteliers."

According to van Paasschen and Sendlinger, Starwood will not be involved in the day-to-day operations of Design Hotels, nor will Design Hotels participate in any of Starwood's centralized delivery systems including reservations and Starwood Preferred Guest.

The transaction, which is subject to anti-trust approval in Germany, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2012.

About Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1,071 properties in 100 countries and territories with 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, and the recently launched Aloft®, and Element SM. The company boasts one of the industry's leading loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), allowing members to earn and redeem points for room stays, room upgrades and flights, with no blackout dates. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit http://www.starwoodhotels.com.

About Design Hotels(TM)

Design Hotels(TM) represents and markets a curated selection of more than 200 independent hotels in over 40 countries across the globe.More than a collection of hotels, the company is a collection of stories. Each property reflects the ideas of a visionary hotelier, an "Original," someone with a passion for genuine hospitality, cultural authenticity, thought-provoking design and architecture. Each "Original" stands for the individual, aesthetic and service-driven experience that his or her hotel provides. Founded by Claus Sendlinger in 1993, Design Hotels(TM) offers its members insightful travel industry knowledge, from market trend consultancy to international sales representation. The company has its headquarters in Berlin and branches in London, Barcelona, New York, Singapore and Perth. For more information, please visit http://www.designhotels.com and http://www.madebyoriginals.com.

Forward-looking statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities regulations. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated at the time the forward-looking statements are made. Further results, performance and achievements may be affected by general economic conditions, including the duration and severity of any global or regional economic downturns, the availability of financing alternatives at acceptable terms, the impact of war and terrorist activity, business and financing conditions, foreign exchange fluctuations, cyclicality of the real estate (including residential) and the hotel and vacation ownership businesses, operating risks associated with the hotel, vacation ownership and residential businesses. These risks and uncertainties are presented in detail in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Although we believe the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable assumptions, we can give no assurance that our expectations will be attained or that results will not materially differ. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

SOURCE: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

Contacts:

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
K.C. Kavanagh, 914-640-8339
kc.kavanagh@starwoodhotels.com
or
Ulrike Birner, +32-2-207 5016
ulrike.birner@starwoodhotels.com

 

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