Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) today announced that it has extended its tender offer to purchase, through its wholly owned subsidiary, WHLP Acquisition LLC, all of the outstanding units of limited partnership (the “Units”) of Westin Hotels Limited Partnership (“WHLP”), the owner of the Westin Michigan Avenue hotel in Chicago, Illinois, at a purchase price of $625 in cash per Unit. The offer, previously scheduled to expire at 5:00 p.m., EST, on December 4, 2003, will now expire at 5:00 p.m., EST, on December 19, 2003, unless further extended.
Starwood also announced today that it has extended its solicitation period for the consent of WHLP`s limited partners to proposals that would facilitate Starwood`s purchase of 100% of the Units. These include proposals to amend WHLP`s partnership agreement to, among other things, render certain transfer restrictions inapplicable to Starwood`s tender offer, to certain types of similar tender offers, and to mergers that follow those tender offers. Starwood is also seeking the consent of the limited partners to effect a merger, following its tender offer, of WHLP with or into an affiliate of Starwood for the same $625 purchase price. Subsidiaries of Starwood are the general partner of WHLP and manage the Westin Michigan Avenue hotel. The solicitation period, previously scheduled to expire at 5:00 p.m., EST, on December 4, 2003, will now expire at 5:00 p.m., EST, on December 19, 2003, unless further extended.
As Starwood previously disclosed, two Unitholders have filed a lawsuit against Starwood, WHLP, the partnership`s general partner and certain other persons alleging breaches of fiduciary duties, violations of the federal securities laws, breach of the partnership agreement and other claims. Starwood believes this lawsuit, which is in its early stages, is without merit and Starwood intends to vigorously defend it.
In addition, various other Unitholders, two of which have recently closed tender offers for Units at offer prices substantially below Starwood`s offer price, have sent letters to all the Unitholders claiming that Starwood`s offer is unfair. Some of these letters appear to contain inaccurate or baseless statements, which Starwood believes are likely intended to disrupt its tender offer. Starwood`s offer price represents a substantial premium to these other tender offer prices as well as other recent prices at which Units have been sold and would provide all Unitholders with certain short-term liquidity at a premium. Starwood intends to assert its legal rights and remedies to prevent illegal or improper interference with its tender offer.
As of 5:00 p.m., Eastern time, December 4, 2003, a total of approximately 20,792 Units (representing approximately 15.33% of the 135,600 outstanding Units) had been validly tendered and not withdrawn.
Unitholders who have any questions about Starwood`s tender offer, need help or would like additional copies of the Offer to Purchase and Solicitation Statement, Agreement of Assignment and Transfer, Consent Form or other documents disseminated with respect to the Offer to Purchase and Solicitation Statement should contact Starwood`s Information Agent, D.F. King & Co., Inc., Toll-Free at (888) 605-1957.