Marriott International Inc. -- The hotelier is splitting into two publicly traded companies. The company said as it reported on its earnings that it will spin off its timeshare development and management company later this year. The remaining business will concentrate on its lodging management and franchising business. Marriott said the move will help both companies focus on opportunities in their respective industries. It also helps the hotel chain shed the less-profitable timeshare business. Marriott will continue to receive franchise fees from the timeshare company's use of the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton brands. The Marriott family will hold a roughly 21 percent stake in each company. Stephen P. Weisz, president of Marriott's timeshare business since 1997, will become CEO of the new company. William J. Shaw, who recently announced his retirement as vice chairman of Marriott International and resigned from its board, will be chairman of the new timeshare company's board. The company reported a 63 percent increase in its fourth-quarter net income to $173 million, or 46 cents per share. That's up from $106 million, or 28 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time impairment charges and other special items, Marriott earned 39 cents per share, up from 32 cents per share. Marriot's total revenue rose to $3.6 billion from $3.4 billion. Analysts anticipated adjusted earnings of 36 cents per share and revenue of $3.58 billion, according to data from FactSet. Looking forward, Marriott said it expects to earn $1.35 to $1.45 in the current fiscal year. Analysts on average expect $1.41 per share. Marriott International will continue to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and the company expects the new timeshare business also to list there. The new timeshare company does not expect to pay a quarterly cash dividend or be investment-grade in the near term. The company is hosting a conference call today to discuss the news with investors. Shares of Marriott, based in Bethesda, Md., rose $1.40, more than 3 percent, to $43 in after-hours trading.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. -- Warren Buffett's company has sold off several of the smaller investments in its $53 billion U.S. stock portfolio during the fourth quarter, including Bank of America, Comcast, Nike, and Lowe' s. The company revealed a number of changes in its holdings in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Berkshire also eliminated holdings in Becton Dickinson, Fiserv, Nalco Holding Co. and Nestle. Officials at the Omaha-based company Buffett leads as chairman and CEO said no one was immediately respond to a request for comment, but they don't typically comment on the company's stock holdings beyond what it is legally required to disclose.
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