SVO Files Form 10 - Announces New Company Name

Starwood Hotels and Resorts will spin off Starwood Vacation Ownership (SVO) into a stand-alone public company. Starwood took the first steps in the spin-off process on June 16, by filing the initial Form 10 Registration Statement. Form 10 makes financial and other information about the company public for the first time, and is a pivotal step in the spin-off process expected to be completed in fourth quarter 2015. At completion of the spin-off transaction, the property will encompass nineteen vacation ownership resorts and three fractional residence properties with additional hotel asset inventory transferred from Starwood.

Vistana Signature Experiences

After much consideration, the name chosen for the new company is Vistana Signature Experiences.  Previous owners from 1980-1999 called the property Vistana Resort, and when Starwood acquired it in 1999 it became SVO. According to Matthew Avril, Chief Executive Officer-Elect of Vistana, "The new yet familiar name builds on our 35-year history and recognized reputation for excellence. While our name is familiar, our new look represents the exciting future opportunities that exist for our owners, associates, guests and investors, as we continue to deliver exceptional experiences that our travelers have come to expect."

How will the spin-off affect owners and potential owners? 

  • SVO will explore new development and growth opportunities to offer more options and flexibility to owners to enhance their vacation experiences.
  • Owners will benefit from additional anticipated inventory at the Westin Los Cabos, Westin Cancun, Westin Puerto Vallarta, Sheraton Kauai and Sheraton Steamboat.
  • SVO resorts will continue to operate as a Westin or Sheraton brand and provide the same level of quality and experiences expected.
  • Services and amenities will continue to be developed, operated and maintained according to highest standards of quality and customer service in the industry.
  • Owners will still receive the same Starwood Vacation Network benefits, and have privileged access to the Starwood Preferred Guest program.
  • Annual maintenance fees and the mortgage process will remain the same, as will websites and telephone numbers to contact SVO.
  • All existing confirmed reservations will remain unchanged.

More Changes for Starwood

Starwood is looking for a new CEO to replace Frits van Paasschen who resigned in February under pressure for failing to move quickly enough to increase the number of hotels in the Starwood system through franchise or management agreements, says Starwood Chairman Bruce Duncan. Since van Paasschen resigned, Adam Aron, a Starwood director since 2006 has been acting CEO and is reported to be interested in the position. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, Starwood has struggled to make its mark in the limited-service hotel sector where its rivals' midmarket brands such as Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Garden Inn, have helped power earnings and drive growth.  Starwood's exploration of strategic alternatives to create value, have sparked speculation about a possible sale, and the potential for broader merger activity in the hotel industry.

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