Another Gaylord shareholder balks at Marriott deal

After resolving opposition from its largest shareholder in August, Gaylord Entertainment’s second-largest shareholder is now opposing the Marriott International deal.

GAMCO Investors Inc, which controls about 13% of Gaylord through various entities, said in a letter to Gaylord Entertainment, Nashville, Tennessee, that it will vote all of its shares against the transaction, without providing details as to how or why it made this decision four months after the deal was first announced. The letter, authored by Mario Gabelli, GAMCO chairman and CEO, also posited that Gaylord should spin off its assets related to the Grand Ole Opry, including the Opry House, Ryman Auditorium, WSM-AM, Opry World and the Wildhorse Saloon.

Gaylord noted that its board of directors, which includes members nominated by Gabelli, supports the Marriott deal and says it has no plans to cease owning and operating the Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium. The deal is set to give Marriott the Gaylord name and management rights to the company’s hotels. Gaylord Entertainment, Nashville, Tennessee, would continue to own the properties, and would convert to a real estate investment trust.

Gaylord’s shareholders are set to approve the deal September 19, and unless Gabelli can form a coalition with other shareholders it is unlikely to be able to prevent the Marriott deal.