EDITOR’S NOTE: On Friday, Sept. 26, the Dollywood Company officially backed out of a partnership with Gaylord for a $50 million snow and waterpark in Nashville, following Gaylord shareholders’ decision to convert the company into a real estate trust. Dolly Parton released the following statement: “Gaylord makes decisions that they feel are good for their company and their stockholders, and I have to make decisions based on what is best for me and the Dollywood Company. I think everyone knows I love Nashville, and I hope the work we’ve already done will spark more family entertainment in Nashville.” A Herschend Family Entertainment representative confirmed to The Tennessean newspaper that Herschend, Dollywood’s parent company, was only involved in the deal through its Dollywood subsidiary and therefore would not continue to be involved with development of the Nashville park on a corporate level. -JK
Nashville, TN, USA /BUSINESS WIRE/ — Gaylord Entertainment Company completed the sale on Oct 1 of the Gaylord Hotels brand and the rights to manage its four hotels to Marriott International, Inc. for $210 million. In addition to assuming the management responsibilities for Gaylord’s four hotels, Marriott also assumed the management responsibilities for local Nashville attractions such as the General Jackson Showboat, Gaylord Springs Golf Links and Wildhorse Saloon. Marriott is expected to assume management duties for the Radisson Hotel (to be renamed the Inn at Opryland) on December 1, 2012.
“We are excited that the Marriott transaction is now complete and we are another step closer to officially operating under the REIT structure,” said Colin V. Reed, Ryman Properties chairman and chief executive officer. “We chose Marriott as a partner for this transaction because they share our commitment to building a strong employee culture and delivering a superior customer experience. After completing this transition we are more confident than ever that working with Marriott, we will be able to achieve significant cost synergies within our business and drive additional revenue at our properties, ultimately benefitting our shareholders and positioning our company for sustained growth.”As a restructuring step in its proposed conversion to a REIT, Gaylord also merged with and into its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. Ryman Properties, the successor to Gaylord’s business, is trading today on the NYSE under the ticker symbol RHP. As a result of the merger, the outstanding shares of Gaylord common stock converted into the right to receive the same number of shares of Ryman Properties common stock. Ryman Properties intends to elect to be taxed as a REIT for federal income tax purposes effective as of January 1, 2013.
Arne Sorenson, Marriott’s president and chief executive officer, said, “We are excited to complete this transaction and begin managing these fantastic properties. All along, our relationship with Colin Reed and his team, as well as the Gaylord organization, has been excellent and the transition process involving the hotels and their STARs has been exceptionally collaborative. We look forward to our Gaylord guests continuing to get the superb service and have the wonderful experiences they expect.”
About Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc.
Ryman Hospitality Properties (NYSE: RHP), formerly known as Gaylord Entertainment Company, a leading hospitality and entertainment company based in Nashville Tennessee, is in the process of restructuring its assets and operations in order to elect to be taxed as a real estate investment trust (REIT) for federal income tax purposes effective as of January 1, 2013, at which time, Ryman Properties intends to specialize in group-oriented, destination hotel assets in urban and resort markets. Ryman Properties’ owned assets include a network of four upscale, meetings-focused resorts totaling 7,795 rooms that are managed by world-class lodging operator Marriott International under the Gaylord Hotels brand (gaylordhotels.com). Other owned assets, managed or to be managed by an independent third-party manager prior to the REIT election, include Gaylord Springs Golf Links, the Wildhorse Saloon, the General Jackson Showboat and the Radisson Hotel Opryland, a 303-room overflow hotel adjacent to Gaylord Opryland. Ryman Properties also owns and operates a number of media and entertainment assets including the Grand Ole Opry (opry.com), the legendary weekly showcase of country music’s finest performers for nearly 90 years; the Ryman Auditorium, the storied former home of the Grand Ole Opry located in downtown Nashville; and WSM-AM, the Opry’s radio home and the only clear-channel station in the U.S. broadcasting music. For additional information about Ryman Properties, visit www.rymanhp.com.