Marriott International’s proposed acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has passed a key milestone in the merger process, the company announced. According to a statement from the companies, the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended (the “HSR Act”), expired in connection with Marriott’s proposed acquisition of Starwood through a business combination, meaning the parties have cleared the premerger antitrust review in the United States, satisfying one of the closing conditions of the pending combination transactions. In addition, the companies announced that the premerger waiting period under Canadian law has expired and that the Competition Bureau of Canada has issued a “no-action letter” in respect of the proposed transaction. The companies are continuing to cooperate with competition authorities in other jurisdictions worldwide to obtain regulatory approvals for the transaction. As previously announced, both companies set March 28 as the date of their separate special stockholder meetings to approve the combination transactions. The companies expect to close the transaction in mid-2016, subject to stockholder approvals, receipt of additional regulatory approvals, Starwood’s divestiture of its vacation ownership business, and satisfaction of other customary conditions precedent.