Contrary to my guessing Le Meridien will continue to operate as Starwoods 8th label in addition to the seven already existing labels:
- Four Points,
- The Luxury Collection,
- W Hotels,
- Westin, and the top label
- St Regis,
The 130 properties of Le Meridien were for the major part contributed to a joint venture of Starwood en Lehman, by the name of Starwood Capital Group LLC, which also paricipates in, for instance, Taittinger champagne.
Recently Starwood Hotels & Resorts itself divested 38 properties for approximately $ 4,1 billion by selling them to Host Marriott.
Host Marriot is the property investment vehicle (with R.E.I.T. status) that resulted from splitting up the Marriott group of companies in a property vehicle and a managment vehicle after Marriott senior died. Probably the heirs needed some cash to satisfy the taxcollector. In addition some heirs were not interested in continuing Marriott and others are, as is usual in family owned business.
For the small business mind of Happy Hotelier it is always mindboggling to see the enourmous amounts involved with the property transactions and also seeing Starwood with a loyalty program of more than 24 mio preferred guests acquire in a nutshell the management of 130 hotels with more than 25.000 employees, who, for the record, will be employed by the owners of the properties and some of who probably will have to find other employment.
The Le Meridien Group that was originally set up by aircarrier Air France (like the GoldenTulip label was set up by KLM) is not French anymore… although its headquarters was already in Londen….
More about this acquisition at the Starwood site.