Marriott International, Inc. (MAR / NYSE) today said it expects to substantially increase its current presence in the United Kingdom to more than 70 hotels and 12,000 rooms as Marriott`s UK franchise partner, Whitbread PLC, acquires Swallow Group PLC.
Whitbread announced last Monday that they have reached agreement on the terms of a recommended cash offer to acquire Swallow Group and its 38 quality-tier hotels for approximately £578 million ($936 million), with plans to convert a majority of the acquired properties to Marriott-branded hotels. The company anticipates, subject to Swallow shareholder approval, completing the acquisition in the next few months and converting the hotels over two years as it finishes capital improvements on them. Whitbread, which franchises a total of 35 Marriott-branded hotels in the UK (25 Marriott hotels and 10 Courtyards by Marriott), cited the powerful competitive advantages of Marriott`s worldwide reservations system and its industry-leading guest loyalty program, Marriott Rewards.
According to Marriott, Whitbread`s expected acquisition and conversions will expand Marriott`s status as one of the leading quality-tier hotel brands in the UK, and reinforce the strong preference for the Marriott brand among franchisees worldwide. Once Whitbread completes the conversions, Marriott will have an expanded presence in London and in other UK cities, including Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Edinburgh, and Dundee.