Fiji Time: 3:13 PM on Wednesday 24 January

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Tower name change

Monday, June 19, 2017

MARRIOTT International Inc's St. Regis brand is the lead bidder to take over the brand and management rights of a downtown Toronto high-rise bearing the name of US President Donald Trump, two people with knowledge of the matter said on Friday.

A third source said the Trump Organisation already has agreed to a settlement that will see it walk away from its branding and management deal for the 65-storey hotel and condo tower in the financial district of Canada's largest city.

It could still take four to six weeks to close the deal to rebrand the Trump International Hotel & Tower, one of the sources said, while another said it could close in two weeks.

"There are a number of hotel groups circling for the management," said one of the sources.

The sources, who declined to say how much the deals were worth, spoke on condition of anonymity because the privately held talks are confidential.

Mr Trump, whose business connections were the subject of two lawsuits filed by members of Congress and Maryland and District of Columbia officials this week, has never owned the project. The building was developed by Talon International Inc, which later defaulted on a construction loan, and the property was bought in a court-run sale by JCF Capital ULC earlier this year.

That sale included 211 hotel units, 74 residential units and most of the commercial, retail and amenity space in the property.

Representatives of the Trump Organisation have previously said they would resist any efforts to cut short the company's long-term contract.

Trump Organisation representatives were not immediately available for comment on Friday.

Bloomberg earlier reported that interested parties include Marriott's St. Regis, Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc's Waldorf Astoria and Mandarin Oriental International Inc.

Since its opening in 2012, Talon had sold less than half of the tower's residential condos and the hotel's occupancy rates have been lower than some investors in the rooms had hoped.

A court last year ordered Talon to pay damages to one buyer of a unit in the tower for "negligent misrepresentation" and another sale was ordered rescinded.

A partner with JCF Capital could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday but declined to comment earlier this week when asked about rebranding the hotel.

Mr Trump had been pressed to distance himself from his global business before becoming president in January.

He said he would maintain ownership while turning over control to his two adult sons.

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