Marriott

The Importance of Cybersecurity in Mergers and Acquisitions

By: Nathaniel Reiff

In 2016, Marriott International, Inc. acquired Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide for $13.6 billion “creating the world’s largest and best hotel company.” Little did Marriot know that Starwood’s guest reservation database provided unauthorized access of more than 500 million guest’s information. The leak revealed customer names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, passport numbers, and potentially credit card numbers and card expiration dates.

“Marriott International Inc.’s revelation of a hack . . . highlights the hidden cybersecurity risks involved with mergers and acquisitions. . . . Even companies that thoroughly vet their targets can’t entirely avoid the possibility that they’re inheriting risks.” claims Bloomberg Law’s Privacy and Data Security reporter, Sara Merken. Such naivety engenders lawsuits against the acquirer, imposes damage to its reputation, and costs the company millions to remediate the hack. Continue reading »