Marriott International is buying a South African hotel chain for ZAR2 billion rand (USD$186 million) in a deal that will make it the largest hotel operator in the Middle East and Africa.
Under the deal, Marriott will buy 166 hotels across seven countries from unlisted Protea Hospitality, doubling its network in the two regions to 23,000 rooms.
By buying hotels in the poor but fast-growing African market, Marriott is betting on a boom in tourism and business travel as companies across the globe scout the continent for opportunities.
The transaction is subject to approval from various local and international authorities and will come into effect in April 2014.
Marriott said it did not expect the transaction to have a material impact on its 2014 results.