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BETHESDA, MD-Host Marriott Corp has just disclosed it’s signed an amendment to the merger agreement with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. As part of the original merger agreement, Host Marriott agreed to acquire 38 hotels from White Plains-based Starwood for about $4 billion. Under the new pact, the buyer is taking 35 hotels for about $3.76 billion.

Eliminated from the deal are three hotels in Canada, a change linked to tax issues, according to a press release issued this morning. The other alterations to the deal involve deferring closings for five hotels in Europe until after the merger and not assuming fiscal responsibility for Sheraton Holding Corp’s issuance of $600 million in senior notes, thereby lessening the debt involved in the takeover. The initial closing of the multibillion-dollar merger is on schedule to close April 10.

The hospitality giants revealed the sales transaction in November, two months after GlobeSt.com reported the two were in talks about a deal. Among the more notable properties that will switch ownership to Host Marriott when the deal closes are the 1,746-room Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers; the W New York, a 688-room property; the 1,216-room Sheraton Boston Hotel; the 1,044-room Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina; the Westin Seattle, an 891-room hotel; and the W Seattle, a 426-room facility.

At that time, Starwood chief executive officer Stephen J. Heyer said of the portfolio sale, “This transaction puts a strategic stake in the ground, accelerating Starwood’s transformation from a real estate company with some hotel brands to a consumer lifestyle company with a branded hotel portfolio at its core. This well-timed sale commits Starwood to an ‘asset right’ strategy, shifting our revenue and profit mix to place greater emphasis on successfully developing and leveraging our renowned brands.”

Christopher J. Nassetta, president and CEO of Host Marriott, added, “We believe these assets represent one of the highest quality lodging portfolios available and they will compliment our existing portfolio of outstanding hotels. We also believe that we acquired the portfolio at an attractive price that will be accretive to both our earnings and our credit and will add to the short-term and long-term value of the company.”

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