Marriott International is spinning off its timeshare business, a one-time booming profit generator for hotel companies that petered out during the recession.

The move will create what amounts to the world's largest standalone timeshare business, with around $1.5 billion in unsold assets and 400,000 owners, according to Marriott's chief operating officer, Arne Sorenson. The unit owns 71 properties with 33,000 rooms.

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