Marriott International Inc. (MAR) has reached a deal to create the world's largest hotel operator with its agreement to acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (HOT) for $12.2 billion. The buyer would to pay 0.92 of its shares and $2 in cash for each share of Starwood, leaving Starwood holders with about 37% of the combined company. Marriott's CEO Arne Sorenson in a statement said that 'the driving force behind this transaction is growth,' and explained, 'This is an opportunity to create value by combining the distribution and strengths of Marriott and Starwood, enhancing our competitiveness in a quickly evolving marketplace. This greater scale should offer a wider choice of brands to consumers, improve economics to owners and franchisees, increase unit growth and enhance long-term value to shareholders.' Meanwhile, Starwood's chairman Bruce Duncan said in a statement that the company's 'board concluded that a combination with Marriott provides the greatest long-term value for our shareholders and the strongest and most certain path forward for our company.' The Deal's Senior Reporter Lisa Allen has the details from New York.