by Michael J. Shapiro | August 08, 2016

Marriott International and Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide have agreed to an extension of China's review process of their proposed merger. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce requested an extension of its phase 2 investigation, which could last up to 60 days.

Marriott originally anticipated a midyear closing for the merger, but the approval of China's Ministry of Commerce is still needed to seal the deal. The hotel companies received approval  from authorities in Mexico and Saudi Arabia in early July, which at that time were the only other outstanding clearances required. Marriott and Starwood executives continue to believe that the merger poses no anti-competitive issues in China, although Marriott executives were unable to comment further.

The deal has been approved by regulatory authorities representing more than 40 countries. The additional investigation represents the final review period in China's regulatory process.