HomeBusiness and MarketChoice Hotels Nominates Board Directors in Hostile Wyndham Bid-Sources

Choice Hotels Nominates Board Directors in Hostile Wyndham Bid-Sources

Choice Hotels Nominates Board Directors in Hostile Wyndham Bid-Sources

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Choice Hotels International pressed ahead with its $8 billion hostile bid for Wyndham Hotels & Resorts on Monday by nominating a slate of directors to replace Wyndham’s eight-member board, people familiar with the matter said.

It is Choice’s latest attempt to break a stalemate after trying for most of the last year to negotiate a deal with Wyndham, which has rebuffed the bid as low-premium and fraught with antitrust risk. Wyndham has also raised concerns about the combined company carrying too much debt and a slowdown in Choice’s business.

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The sources said Choice’s slate of nominees includes hospitality industry veteran Jay Shah, who currently serves on the board of private equity-backed HHM Hotels; Susan Schnabel, founder of aPriori Capital Partners which advises private equity on leveraged buyouts; James Nelson, CEO of real estate investment trust Global Net Lease; and Fiona Dias, who served on Choice’s board from 2004 to 2012.

Choice’s board nominees also include Barbara Bennett, founder of consulting firm Bennett West and a former Discovery Communications executive; Emanuel Pearlman, who serves on several public-company boards including Diebold Nixdorf, and Network-1 Technologies; Nana Mensah, who serves on the board of Darden Restaurants which operates brands such as Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse; and William Grounds, a veteran of the real estate and hospitality industries, who serves on the board of PointsBet Holdings, the sources said.

Choice and Wyndham did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Reuters was first to report on Nov. 27 that Choice was preparing to nominate directors to the board of Wyndham. The move gives Wyndham shareholders a way to push for the deal by turning the vote on board directors in the spring into a referendum on whether the company should open negotiations with Choice.

Reporting by Anirban Sen in New York; editing by Shri Navaratnam and Jason Neely

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