by Michael J. Shapiro | October 13, 2010

Marriott International and the Spanish company AC Hotels signed an agreement last week to form a joint venture and a new co-brand, which will be known as AC by Marriott. The hotels will leverage AC's name recognition for urban, four-star hotels in the European market, along with Marriott's global systems, distribution and sales platforms, and the Marriott Rewards loyalty program. The companies expect more than 90 existing AC properties in Spain, Italy and Portugal to be rebranded under the new name, and for the brand to expand its presence throughout Europe and Latin America. The deal is expected to close by the end of this year, with the AC by Marriott co-brand officially launching in 2011.