Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott, said, “This was an intensely competitive set of negotiations in which we agreed to a set of legal and economic terms that we believe are fair to both parties, deliver real value to both, and in Marriott’s view, represent the lengths to which we were willing to go to obtain the rights to manage an extraordinary, one-of-a-kind group of assets.”
The TRT “open letter” contains a number of significant inaccuracies and omissions relating to the Marriott agreement, as well as gross mischaracterizations of the proposed transaction and alternatives, and Gaylord will respond to each item in detail at a later date. However, the Company believes it is important to address a few of the more egregious comments. For example:
- TRT incorrectly states that the Marriott agreement would prohibit Gaylord from selling its hotels without Marriott’s consent, or to any buyer that owns 10 or more full-service hotels. This is simply false -- no such restrictions will apply. With very limited exceptions (for a sale to felons, suspected terrorists or direct brand competitors of Gaylord/Marriott) Gaylord is free to sell the hotels to any buyers, without Marriott's consent.
- TRT also incorrectly states that Marriott may simply assign the Gaylord management agreements to a third party without ensuring that the Gaylord hotels continue to receive the benefits of the Marriott trademarks and system. That is also false. Essentially, Marriott cannot sell or transfer the management rights to the Gaylord Hotels unless it sells the entire Marriott system to a third party.- TRT also grossly underestimates the benefits of management by Marriott, including access to Marriott’s world-class programs and services, economies of scale not otherwise available to Gaylord, and Marriott’s long track record of success in the large group meetings segment. Gaylord also reiterated that it has retained the contractual right to consider alternative proposals to acquire the Company that are presented prior to the stockholders’ meeting to consider the proposed transaction. The Company and its Board of Directors remain open and willing to consider an offer for the entire Company which produces the best value for stockholders. In that regard, the Company noted that TRT has failed to produce any offer to acquire the entire Company despite being given the opportunity to do so, the information on which to base its decision and significant extended periods of time to develop a proposal.