Gaylord giving Marriott more management rights

Plan calls for only Opry, Ryman and WSM to stay under umbrella

Gaylord Entertainment said it has agreed with Marriott International to transfer the management of its Radisson Hotel Opryland as well as the General Jackson Showboat, Gaylord Springs Golf Links and the Wildhorse Saloon.

Word of the deal comes a day after prominent Gaylord investor Mario Gabelli suggested the company spin out its attractions business. Marriott is preparing to pay $210 million to acquire the Gaylord Hotels brand and the long-term management rights to the company’s four large resorts in Nashville, Florida, Texas and Maryland. Gaylord execs then plan to reorganize the company as a real estate investment trust.

Assuming investors approve those plans on Sept. 25, Marriott will take over the management of the General Jackson, Gaylord Springs and the Wildhorse on Oct. 1. The Radisson Opryland is scheduled to transition Dec. 1 and will be renamed the Inn at Opryland.

“We are excited to begin managing these attractions as well at the Inn at Opryland,” said David Grissen, Americas president for Marriott International. “Historically these assets have performed well as part of the Gaylord portfolio and we believe that they will continue to offer our group and leisure customers unique entertainment options.”

Gaylord will continue to own the Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium and WSM-AM radio station, properties Gaylord Chairman and CEO Colin Reed called “incredibly important to the Nashville community.”

“Nothing will change at these iconic assets, and we look forward to continuing to offer the same level of world-class entertainment that has made them such prominent music institutions,” Reed said.

At about 11 a.m. Friday, shares of Gaylord (Ticker: GET) were up slightly to $41.26. Year to date, they’ve risen about 70 percent.