JW Marriott's owner Strategic Hotels & Resorts explores sale

JW Marriott's owner Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc yesterday announced that it was exploring strategic alternatives, including a sale.

Strategic Hotels, which owns upscale and luxury hotels and resorts such as the Marriott International, Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott luxury brands, has a market cap of about $3.8 billion.

Strategic Hotels & Resorts, owned by Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), said that its ''Board of Directors is exploring possible strategic alternatives for the Company, including the potential sale of the Company. The company has retained J.P. Morgan as financial advisor.''

"Our Board of Directors and management team remain committed to acting in the best interests of our shareholders," said Raymond "Rip" Gellein, chairman and CEO of Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Inc.  "We are confident in our strategic plan and the value we have created for our shareholders.  At the same time, we are always open to ways in which we can further maximize shareholder value."

Strategic Hotels & Resorts operates 18 hotels and resorts under the brands, including Fairmont, Four Seasons, InterContinental, KSL Resorts, Loews, Marriott, Montage Hotels & Resorts, Ritz-Carlton and Westin in the US and Europe.

Bill Gates' investment vehicle, Cascade Investment Inc is the second-largest investor in REIT after Vanguard Group with 1.7 million shares or 9.8 per cent stake.