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Marriott-Starwood merger closes

MarriottInternational Inc. closed its acquisition of

After almost a year and the surprise entry and exit of Anbang, the Sept. 23 closingcomes after the Chinese Ministry of Commerce gave antitrust for the deal.

The merger creates the world's largest hotel company thatwill operate or franchise more than 5,700 properties and 1.1 million rooms inmore than 110 countries.

The company's board increased to 14 members from 11,effective Sept. 23, with the addition of First Industrial Realty Trust Inc. Chairman, Presidentand CEO Bruce Duncan; Lerer Hippeau Ventures partner Eric Hippeau; and PotbellyCorp. Chairman and CEO Aylwin Lewis.Hippeau and Lewis previously served on Starwood's board.

Marriott continues to expect $250 million in annualcorporate cost synergies from the merger. The company remains headquartered inBethesda, Md., and led by President and CEO Arne Sorenson.

Starwood's shares on the New York Stock Exchange will ceasetrading before market opening Sept. 23.

Starwood's financial advisers are Lazard and Citigroup,while Cravath Swaine & Moore served as its legal counsel for the deal.

Deutsche Bank Securities and Goldman Sachs were Marriott'sfinancial advisers, and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher served as legal counsel.