Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc. is putting its Ciga Hotels portfolio in Europe up for sale, and the 25 hotels may bring in as much as $1.5 billion. The hotels are located in Italy, Spain, Austria and Sardinia. The White Plains, N.Y.-based hotel company is selling the hotels in an effort to boost its share price and to concentrate on the growth of its other international brands.

Several hotel companies, including Bass Hotels & Resorts, Accor and Hilton Hotels Corp., are reportedly interested in purchasing the portfolio. Starwood's marketing effort for the properties is expected to begin in early 2001.