IHG denies rumored merger talks with Starwood Hotels

IHG has denied that it held early deal talks to merge with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide to create the world’s largest hotel group.

“Following recent market speculation, the Board of Directors of IHG states that it is not in talks with Starwood with a view to a combination of the businesses,” stated IHG’s official response.

According to an earlier report from the Financial Times, IHG’s talks with Starwood did include an informal discussion about completing a merger. In the article, unidentified sources close to the companies cautioned that the discussions are “very tentative” and Starwood may ultimately choose another suitor or pursue another strategy.

In April, Starwood said it was exploring its options to increase shareholder value and hired Lazard to explore alternatives, which could include a sale. Starwood reportedly hopes to decide on a path by the end of the year.