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S&P affirms Starwood Hotels ratings, changes outlook

Standard and Poor's Ratings Services on April 8 affirmedStarwood Hotels & ResortsWorldwide Inc.'s corporate credit rating at BBB and modified theratings outlook to stable from negative.

The action follows the announcement that the proposedmerger betweenStarwood and MarriottInternational Inc. was approvedby the companies' respective stockholders at separate meetings held the sameday.

S&P also affirmed its A-2 rating on Starwood'scommercial paper and its BBB issue-level rating on the company's seniorunsecured bonds.

The rating agency said in a note that Starwood's rating andoutlook are consistent with those of Marriott and that it assumes bothcompanies' risk profiles are similar.

The outlook revision is based on the merger deal obtainingstockholder approvals, S&P said, adding that there is likely no "meaningful"near-term roadblock to the merger's completion, which may take place by the endof the second quarter, and that the spinoffof Starwood's timeshare business as part of the transaction is unlikely to facesubstantial delay.

S&P said it anticipates withdrawing its corporate creditand commercial paper ratings on Starwood after the merger's completion.

S&P Ratings andS&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by McGraw Hill Financial Inc.