Last updated: 09:59 AM ET, Tue September 20 2016

Marriott, Starwood Set to Merge Following Antitrust Approval in China

Hotel & Resort | Starwood Hotels and Resorts | Patrick Clarke | September 20, 2016

Marriott, Starwood Set to Merge Following Antitrust Approval in China

Photo courtesy of Marriott International. 

Despite some unexpected delays, Marriott International's acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is back on track and on schedule to close Friday.

The two hotel companies announced Tuesday that their merger transaction has received the necessary approval from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), more than a month after the ministry requested to extend its transaction review period for up to 60 days.

MOFCOM approval signals the final hurdle for the two companies. Now, pending satisfaction of customary closing requirements, Marriott and Starwood will combine into one company before the market opens Friday.

The acquisition will make Marriott the world's larget hotel company.

The two companies originally agreed to the multi-billion dollar merger last November. However a last-minute takeover bid from a Chinese consortium led by the Anbang Insurance Group threatened to derail the deal. Ultimately, the consortium withdrew its offer and Marriott and Starwood settled on a deal valued at $13.6 billion.

READ MORE: Winners, Losers of Marriott's $12.2 Billion Acquisition of Starwood

Marriott and Starwood stockholders approved the merger in April and the two companies received clearance from the European Union in June.

When the transaction is competed Friday, Marriott will boast more than 1 million rooms across more than two dozen hotel brands around the world. From there guests will be watching closely to see how Marriott incorporates Starwood Preferred Guest into its current loyalty program.

In the past Marriott president and CEO Arne Sorenson said Marriott would combine the best of each program. 

"After we become one company, we expect to run parallel loyalty programs while we engage in the complicated work of integration," Sorenson wrote in a letter to Marriott Rewards members earlier this year. "During this period, there is no change to how you manage your Marriott Rewards account or book reservations, and you will maintain your existing member benefits for some time. In fact, we don't anticipate launching a newly combined program until 2018."

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