this would be dreadful news IMO if they were to merge InterContinental Hotels Group Plc jumped in London trading after the Financial Times reported the company has held early-stage merger talks with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. InterContinental, Europe’s second-largest publicly traded hotel company, gained as much 5.5 percent and was up 3.7 percent at 2,719 pence at 4:17 p.m. London time. Starwood was little changed at $83.25 in New York trading. A merger would create a the world’s largest hotel operator, with more than 1 million rooms in 100 countries. The talks are tentative and Starwood may chose a different partner or follow another strategy, the FT reported, citing two people familiar with the discussions.