Starwood poaches top Whitbread director fuelling bid rumours
Speculation that Starwood Capital will swoop for Whitbread has increased after it emerged that the US company has poached the UK leisure giant's former property director.
A report in today's Financial Times revealed Desmond Taljaard has joined Starwood as vice-president and head of asset management.
Analysts believe that any move by Starwood, possibly together with UK-based private equity firm Apax Partners, for all or part of Whitbread may trigger a bidding war, flushing out other suitors.
Premier Travel Inn (PTI) owner Whitbread has been undertaking a restructuring of its own under boss Alan Parker.
The company sold off its MarriottMitchells & Butlers this summer and is currently in talks over the future of its TGI Friday's franchise.
Last month Whitbread said it would return £350m to shareholders after strong performances from PTI and Costa.
Move for Whitbread from Starwood Capital could trigger bidding war >>
By Chris Druce
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