The path has been cleared for Marriott International to take over rival Starwood Hotels & Resorts after a Chinese consortium suddenly withdrew a higher $14 billion bid.

The unexpected withdrawal of the Angbang Insurance Group-led offer paves the way for Marriott to create the world’s largest hotel company by acquiring the owner of Westin and Sheraton.

Angbang said: “We were attracted to the opportunity presented by Starwood because of its high-quality, leading global hotel brands, which met many of our acquisition criteria, including the ability to generate consistent, long-term returns over time.

“However, due to various market considerations, the consortium has determined not to proceed further.”

The abrupt about-turn came just two days after the Chinese-led group raised its offer to beat a rival $13.6 billion bid from Marriott.

Marriott and Starwood reacted by encouraging shareholders of both companies to vote in support of the deal to create the world’s largest hotel company, with 30 brands and more than 5,500 hotels.

Marriott president and chief executive, Arne Sorenson, said: “We are focused on maximising shareholder value and from the beginning of this process we have been steadfast in our belief that a combination with Starwood will offer the highest value to all shareholders.

“Together, we can provide opportunities for significant equity upside and great long-term value driven by a larger global footprint, wider choice of brands for consumers, substantial synergies, and improved economics to owners and franchisees leading to accelerated global growth and continued strong returns.

“Our integration teams have been diligent in their work over the last few weeks and are more committed than ever to a timely and smooth transition.”