Starwood hires investment bank to explore all options

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide said on Wednesday that it is exploring its options to increase shareholder value and hired investment bank Lazard Ltd. to explore alternatives, which could include everything from a sale to major acquisition.

“No option is off the table, and we will take the time we need to thoroughly evaluate our opportunities and achieve the best result for our shareholders, business partners, and associates,” Bruce Duncan, Starwood’s chairman, said in the statement.

Starwood also reported first-quarter results, projecting adjusted earnings per share for the full year to be US$2.94 to US$3.04 a share, compared with an average analyst estimate of $2.95 a share. First-quarter revenue slipped 2.9% to US$1.42 billion and profits fell to US$99 million, or 58 cents a share, from US$137 million, or 71 cents a share, a year earlier. RevPAR rose a currency-adjusted 5.2% at comparable hotels worldwide, driven by the company’s North America and Latin America segments, but dropped 10.5% in Europe.

“Looking ahead, we are taking meaningful steps to accelerate the pace of our growth,” interim CEO Adam Aron said. “The recent launch of our 10th brand – Tribute Portfolio – is just one of several key initiatives that we will be launching in the near term as we look to expand our footprint and better serve our guests.”