True to form, Mario Gabelli is OK with waiting a little longer.
After the largest investor in Gaylord Entertainment last week said it will oppose the company’s planned sale of its brand and management rights to Marriott International, the company’s No. 2 shareholder wants to see what’s next.
Speaking to NashvillePost.com, Gabelli said TRT Holdings’ letter last week opposing Gaylord’s $210 million plan was the proverbial stick. He’s expecting to see the carrot soon after Gaylord execs file a proxy statement for the Marriott vote, which is expected in the next two weeks.
“He’s got to come up with something else,” Gabelli said. “Otherwise, he’s spinning his wheels.”
Last week’s letter, signed by TRT President James Caldwell, didn’t hint at anything drastic. Instead, Caldwell said, Gaylord investors should turn down the Marriott deal and insist that the company cut millions in costs and continue as a stand-alone company. Part of that strategy, he added, could include smaller hotels — something Chairman and CEO Colin Reed hinted at this spring.
Gabelli — whose GAMCO Investors has been a major Gaylord shareholder for about two decades and this spring lifted its stake to more than 13 percent — wasn’t prepared to voice support for either side in the Gaylord-TRT fracas. At this point, he’s content to be patient and see what materializes in the near future.
“This is like Texas Hold ’Em and he’s got two more cards,” Gabelli said.
Gaylord investors are taking an equally cautious approach. Since TRT went public with its opposition, shares of Gaylord (Ticker: GET) are down about 7 percent to roughly $35.10. In that time, the S&P 500 has fallen about 2 percent.