April 1, 2016 / 2:44 AM / 3 years ago

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

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

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) 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) banker said.

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

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