Marriott to acquire major African hotel firm

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Global hotel giant Marriott International has signed a letter of intent to buy a South African company that operates or franchises 116 properties on the continent.

The deal is likely to make Marriott the biggest hotel firm in Africa, an increasingly competitive market for global operators.

In a statement, Marriott said that it hoped to close the deal to buy Protea Hotels by the first quarter of next year. The proposed value of the deal has not yet been made public.

Protea Hotels, which is owned by Protea Hospitality Group, encompasses three separate brands, with 80 properties in South Africa and further hotels in Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

"The development cycle for opening new hotels in Africa is typically long due to the challenges posed by emerging infrastructure," Alex Kyriakidis, Marriott International's president for the Middle East and Africa said.

"Joining forces with Protea Hotels and their highly respected management team is the strongest way to jumpstart Marriott's footprint in Africa."

The deal will nearly double Marriott's presence in Africa to more than 23,000 rooms.

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