Shares in Starwood Hotels & Resorts rose to their highest level in almost 20 years last night after analysts said a buyer may be willing to pay $83 (£42) a share for the company.
William Truelove, an analyst at UBS, said Monday's ousting of Starwood Hotels chief executive officer Stephen Heyer made it more likely the company may be sold to a private-equity firm.
Potential buyers include Starwood Capital, run by former Starwood Hotels chairman Barry Sternlicht, who "has good knowledge of the assets", Truelove wrote.
CreditSights analysts agreed, saying in a report: "As a result of this event, there is now speculation in the market that Barry Sternlicht, Starwood's founder, may reacquire the company."
Heyer, who has been chief executive and a board director since October 2004, was involved in the transition of ownership from Sternlicht when he left the company in 2005.
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By Daniel Thomas