Hotel chain Marriott is facing a fine of £99 million over a data breach which is estimated to have affected around 339 million customers.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) fine relates to a data breach at the company believed to have originated in the systems of the Starwood hotels group in 2014.

Marriott acquired Starwood in 2016 but the breach was not disclosed until November last year.

The ICO said the hotel chain had failed to undertake due diligence when it bought Starwood and should have done more to secure its systems.

READ MORE: British Airways 'could challenge' record fine after customer data hack

Last year, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was introduced in Europe, which gave regulators increased powers to levy larger fines against companies for data breaches.

Starwood hotels, include Trump Turnberry in Ayrshire, London's Park Lane Sheraton Grand, Westbury Mayfair and Le Meridien Piccadilly.

Marriott International's president and chief executive Arne Sorenson said the company was "disappointed" with the ICO's announcement and said it would contest the fine.

"Marriott has been co-operating with the ICO throughout its investigation into the incident, which involved a criminal attack against the Starwood guest reservation database," he said.

"We deeply regret this incident happened. We take the privacy and security of guest information very seriously and continue to work hard to meet the standard of excellence that our guests expect from Marriott."

READ MORE: What is GDPR and what does it mean for consumers?

When first disclosing the breach, the hotel firm said the guest records of around 339 million people had been accessed and said it believed more than five million un-encrypted passport numbers were part of the information accessed.

Seven million records were said to be related to UK residents.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said: "The GDPR makes it clear that organisations must be accountable for the personal data they hold.

"This can include carrying out proper due diligence when making a corporate acquisition, and putting in place proper accountability measures to assess not only what personal data has been acquired, but also how it is protected.

"Personal data has a real value so organisations have a legal duty to ensure its security, just like they would do with any other asset.

"If that doesn't happen, we will not hesitate to take strong action when necessary to protect the rights of the public."

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On Monday, British Airways was told it faces a £183m fine by the ICO over its own 2018 data breach.

The UK's competition watchdog has put a long-term halt to the Asda-Sainsbury's merger, banning the supermarkets from joining forces for at least 10 years.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued the final order in its investigation into the tie-up, which legally binds the companies to abide by the regulator's decision.

The order bans Sainsbury's and Asda from merging for 10 years, which is a standard CMA prohibition period.

The regulator said in May that it was likely to hand down the order, but gave all parties a month to respond.

The ban also applies to US giant Walmart, which is not allowed to acquire any interest in Sainsbury's as long as it still owns part of Asda.

Haulage firm Eddie Stobart Logistics has warned first-half earnings will be at the lower end of expectations and revealed a hit of around £2 million to last year's results after an accounting error.

Shares in the group were 4% lower, having fallen by around 10% at one stage, on the earnings woes.

It said current trading issues have been caused by slower-than-expected productivity in its contract logistics and warehousing units, and exiting a "problematic contract" at the end of March.

Eddie Stobart Logistics was spun out of Stobart Group in 2014.
It operates a network of more than 2,000 vehicles, 3,500 trailers and 24 distribution centres throughout UK and Europe.