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Marriott's Starwood deal suffers China syndrome

A Sheraton Hotel stands in downtown Brooklyn in New York City. A fight for the Starwood Hotel chain, which Sheraton is a member of, is underway following a $14 billion buyout offer last week from a consortium led by China's Anbang Insurance Group.
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A Sheraton Hotel stands in downtown Brooklyn in New York City. A fight for the Starwood Hotel chain, which Sheraton is a member of, is underway following a $14 billion buyout offer last week from a consortium led by China's Anbang Insurance Group.

The "Princess Bride" film quip warns never to get involved in a land war in Asia. Marriott International's similarly classic blunder is to engage in a bidding war with a Chinese buyer.

To trump a rival takeover offer for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide led by Beijing-based Anbang Insurance, Marriott on Monday sweetened its own to $13.6 billion. Even with the additional cost savings it says it has found, however, the merger math suggests the larger U.S. hotelier is destroying significant value.