September 13, 2012 / 2:32 PM / 5 years ago

Gabelli investors to oppose Gaylord's proposed REIT conversion

Sept 13 (Reuters) - Gaylord Entertainment Co's second-largest shareholder said it was opposed to the hotel operator's plans to convert itself into a real estate investment trust.

Gabelli Funds LLC, which has a 15.12 percent stake in Gaylord, said it is voting all of its shares against Gaylord's plan to sell its namesake brand and hotel management rights to Marriott International Inc.

Gaylord in May said its conversion to a REIT would reduce the company's tax burden and give its investors higher returns.

Gabelli recommended that Gaylord, which also owns and operates several attractions, spin-off the assets related to the Grand Ole Opry, the country-music mecca located in Nashville, Tennessee.

"As a public company, with dedicated and focused management, Opry should better flourish and be an enormous success for shareholders," Gabelli said in a letter to Gaylord.

In July, TRT Holdings - the company's largest shareholder at the time - had also said that it intends to vote against the REIT proposal, saying the deal is biased in favor of Marriott and appears to have been poorly negotiated.

Gaylord shares fell as much as 2 percent to $39.37 on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday morning.

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