Hospitality Split

The Marriott hotel company separates its winners from its losers

Tips are not uncommon in the hotel business. But few are as generous as the one Marriott shareholders received last week. In a financial maneuver that is part of a growing trend, Marriott Corp. said it would spin off its thriving hotel-management division from its debt-laden real estate operations and would award stockholders special tax-free shares in the new company. A number of firms, most recently Sears, that had caught diversification fever during the 1980s are now scrambling to sell ill-fitting or troublesome units.

The move at Marriott was triggered largely by its management's bleak assessment of its money-losing real-estate business....

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