From the Denver Business Journal
Gaylord Entertainment Co. (NYSE: GET) shareholders overwhelmingly approved the company’s reorganization and sale of its properties to Marriott International Inc. on Tuesday, leaving its proposed 1,500-room hotel/conference center in Aurora officially in limbo.
The restructured company will be known as Ryman Hospitality Properties Inc. It will be traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol RHP beginning Oct. 1.
The shareholders vote, which passed with 74 percent approval, had been expected since Gaylord officials announced on May 31 that they were looking to turn their company into a real estate investment trust (REIT) to reduce costs and become more efficient.
As a REIT, the company no longer would build or operate the enormous hotels it owns near Dallas; Washington, D.C.; Orlando, Fla.; and Nashville, Tenn. — and planned to build in Aurora and Mesa, Ariz. — but would focus instead on buying group-oriented hotels.
Colin Reed, the Gaylord CEO who becomes head of Ryman Hospitality Properties under the deal, said in a news release that the new company won’t participate in the development phase of the proposed Mesa property.
But he added that while Ryman also won’t proceed with the $824 million Aurora project in the form previously anticipated, it’s working with Aurora officials on how the hotel can move forward in a new way.
“We are currently examining how the Aurora project can be completed with minimum financial commitment by our company through the development phase and how we could ultimately participate in the levels of return we expect once it is open and operating,” Reed said.
Wendy Mitchell, president/CEO of the Aurora Economic Development Council, said her organization is looking for private-equity investors to pull the deal together. She has received some interest, but said such an enormous deal will take time to develop.
“We have some people who I think are interested. I don’t know what the level of that is,” Mitchell said Tuesday. “We’ll do everything we can to make it happen.”
Downtown Denver hoteliers complained from the time the project was announced in June 2011 that it would steal customers away from the Colorado Convention Center and keep that out-of-state spending on its property rather than in downtown hotels, restaurants and shops.
- Gaylord shareholders approve Marriott deal (bizjournals.com)
- Gaylord Entertainment Announces Organizational Structure of Newly Created Ryman Hospitality Properti (dailyfinance.com)
- After Marriott sale, Gaylord to emphasize Ryman in new name (bizjournals.com)
- Gaylord Entertainment will move forward with new name and structure (denverpost.com)
- Shareholder: Gaylord should spin off Ryman, Grand Ole Opry (bizjournals.com)
- Gaylord Entertainment cautious on Aurora hotel, buys out critic (denverpost.com)