NEW YORK (TheStreet) An activist shareholder owning about 4% of the stock in Strategic Hotels & Resorts (BEE) has served notice it intends to nominate four candidates to the hotel REIT's board of directors.
Daniel Lewis, managing director of New York-based Orange Capital, in a statement Wednesday, Nov. 20, said his firm is seeking to revamp the board "to address what we view as a persistent discount of the company's share price to intrinsic value, poor corporate governance and lack of an effective strategy."
Strategic, of Chicago, has ownership interests in 18 North American and European hotels with a combined 8,272 rooms and 851,000 square feet of meeting space. The hotels operate under brands including Loews, Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton and Westin. But Orange in a presentation complained that the REIT trades at a significant discount to its net asset value, and warns that the board has done little to address that underperformance.
"We have attempted to engage in a constructive dialogue with Strategic Hotels' leadership for most of this year and have continued to add to our investment in the company," Lewis said, adding that during that time his firm has not seen material change from the firm.
"We believe it is time to restore shareholder accountability, and that our four director nominees will best serve the interests of all shareholders," Lewis said.
Strategic has been under pressure from Orange since February, and the firm in May said it would terminate its poison pill in response to criticism from the investor. The company's shares spiked in June after rumors spread that it had retained New York-based real estate investment bank Eastdil Secured to explore a deal.
But Orange has been concerned that firms it considers likely buyers of Strategic Hotels have not been contacted. The firm said it would nominate Lewis along with David W. Johnson of Aimbridge Hospitality, John D. Lyons of Granite Realty Advisors and Mark Woodworth of PKF Hospitality Research.
Orange Capital is being represented by Gregg Feinstein at Houlihan Lokey and Schulte Roth & Zabel partners Marc Weingarten and David E. Rosewater, and has retained proxy solicitation firm Okapi Partners.
-- Written by Lou Whiteman in New York
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