Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Mar 7 2003

OLYMPIA -- The Attorney General's Office today announced that the federal court in Seattle has approved a settlement with two major Seattle hotels that ends a three-year antitrust investigation relating to the operation and management by Starwood Hotels of the two large convention hotels in downtown Seattle. The settlement agreement includes requirements for insuring competitive bidding for large events.

The Seattle Sheraton and Seattle Westin hotels, which are managed by Starwood, have agreed to notify large groups and convention customers that they can request separate bids, quotes and prices from each hotel. Starwood also agreed the two hotels will only share between themselves pricing and availability information relating to negotiations with those customers when such information is also available to the industry or the public.

In addition, Starwood will pay the state $1.05 million in costs and attorney fees.

The agreement, filed in the U.S. District Court in Seattle, also settles a civil action in which Starwood sought a judgment declaring it did not violate antitrust laws in its operation of the two hotels.