Exclusive: Anbang partner says Starwood bid was dropped to avoid long battle

Thu Mar 31, 2016 11:15pm EDT
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BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Anbang Insurance Group Co walked away from its planned $14 billion offer for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc HOT.N to avoid a protracted bidding war, one of the Chinese insurer's consortium partners said on Friday.

In a surprise move, Anbang dropped out of the bidding for Starwood, paving the way for rival suitor Marriott International Inc (MAR.O: Quote) to buy the Sheraton and Westin hotels operator..

Anbang had teamed up with Chinese private equity firm Primavera Capital and global buyout firm J.C. Flowers & Co, for its Starwood bid.

"While attracted to Starwood's high-end global hotel portfolio, at the end of the day Anbang is a disciplined buyer," Fred Hu, Chairman of Primavera, told Reuters in an email statement.

"Anbang has both the interest and the financial resources to do a deal of this size and more, but only at the right terms that make long-term financial sense," Hu, a former Goldman Sachs (GS.N: Quote) banker said.

(Reporting by Matthew Miller; Writing by Denny Thomas; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

A man walks into the 'W London' hotel, owned by Starwood Hotels, in Leicester Square in central London March 4, 2014. REUTERS/Toby Melville