Looks like China’s Ministry of Commerce is going to need more time to evaluate the plans of a merged Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Hotel chain in China after the company announced that they had extended the time frame by which an official statement would be made about their future expansion plans in the country.
This move is hardly surprising seeing as though the main competitor to Marriott for the Starwood takeover was a Chinese company, and even engaged in a mini bidding war of sorts to pry the group away.
The group said that the Ministry had requested for more time and that the two parties have agreed on a extended period of review which could last up to 60 days. While the company had received ‘per-merger’ clearances from the government, this last step, also known as ‘phase three’ is a required hurdle to overcome for the merger to officially go through on an international scale.
Marriott and Starwood insist that there are no anti-competitive issues the newly merged group have in China or in the rest of their international markets. They have already recieved full approval for the transaction from more than 40 regulatory authorities worldwide, including including the United States, the European Union, Canada, Chile, Colombia, India, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, and Turkey.
China remains the only regulatory hurdle to clear before the two chains can officially go through with the merger. It’s a rather important hurdle however – and perhaps might be the hardest one to pass yet.