Starwood Hotels says it’s exploring strategic alternatives

Starwood Hotels Climbs After Earnings Beat Analysts' Estimates
Signage for the W Hotel New York - Times Square, a Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. property, is displayed in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., the owner of the Sheraton and W brands, rose the most in three months after it reported third-quarter earnings that beat estimates and forecast an increase in revenue growth for 2014. Photographer: Craig Warga/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Craig Warga — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (HOT) said Wednesday it’s exploring strategic and financial alternatives and “no option is off the table.”

Shares of Starwood, which owns the St. Regis and Sheraton hotel brands, rose following the announcement.

Options could potentially include a sale of the company, an acquisition, or sale of the company’s hotels, reports said.

The company, which has a market valuation of about $14 billion, also reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by higher occupancy at its properties.

Starwood, which has been transitioning into an “asset-light” strategy, has sold properties worth about $1.5 billion over the past two years. The spin-off of Starwood’s timeshare business was the latest in that plan.

In February, the company announced the resignation of long-time Chief Executive Frits van Paasschen.

Starwood said on Wednesday it had retained Lazard to assist in exploring alternatives.

On Tuesday, Fortune’s Chris Matthews wrote about how disruptive startups such as Airbnb could spawn an M&A frenzy in the hotel industry.

Net income attributable to Starwood fell to $99 million, or 58 cents per share, in the first quarter ended March 31 from $137 million, or 72 cents per share.

Excluding items, the company earned 65 cents per share.
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Revenue fell 2.9 pct to $1.42 billion. System-wide international occupancy increased 2.3 percent at Starwood properties.

Analysts on average expected a profit of 57 cents per share on revenue of $1.46 billion according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company said it now expects a profit of $2.94-$3.04 per share for 2015, above analysts’ estimate of $2.97 per share.

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