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Shareholder names nominees to RLJ Lodging board, pushes for strategic review

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Capital Markets View – January 2021


Shareholder names nominees to RLJ Lodging board, pushes for strategic review

Activist shareholder Land & Buildings Investment Management LLC named its two director nominees for election at RLJ Lodging Trust's upcoming annual meeting and pushed for an immediate process to evaluate strategic alternatives for the company, arguing that it is undervalued and underperforming.

In a March 20 letter to shareholders, Land & Buildings President Craig Melcher said his firm intends to nominate Michelle Applebaum, former CEO of equity research firm Michelle Applebaum Research Inc., and Samantha Yablon, a public real estate investor, for election to the board in light of what Melcher called RLJ's failure to address its material underperformance relative to other hotel real estate investment trusts.

Melcher also pushed for the immediate creation of a special committee composed of independent directors to evaluate strategic alternatives available to RLJ.

He noted that the company has not explained how it would maximize value for shareholders "materially in excess" of Blackstone Group LP's all-cash offer in July 2017, which RLJ rejected as it pursued a merger with FelCor Lodging Trust Inc. The merger was completed in September 2017.