LaSalle Hotel Properties set a special shareholders meeting for Sept. 6 to vote on the merger of the company with affiliates of Blackstone Group LP.
The lodging real estate investment trust's board of trustees recommended that shareholders vote for the merger, which it deems to be in the best interest of the company and its shareholders.
Further, LaSalle's board urged shareholders to discard the proxy cards sent by Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, which is attempting to gather shareholder support for its own offer for LaSalle. Pebblebrook Chairman, President and CEO Jon Bortz recently said on an earnings conference call that his company will be "solely and hyper-focused on" a combination with LaSalle.
LaSalle said its board determined that Pebblebrook's offer "does not constitute, and could not reasonably be expected to lead to" a superior offer to Blackstone's $33.50-per-share agreement. Pebblebrook, itself a LaSalle shareholder, has repeatedly called on other shareholders to reject the merger with the Blackstone affiliates. In a statement released after LaSalle's rejection of its offer, Bortz said LaSalle's board had "failed in its fiduciary duty" to its shareholders by rejecting Pebblebrook's offer, which the company valued at $36.21 per share based on its $38.93-per-share value-weighted average price as of July 27.
"We have spoken with the owners of the vast majority of LaSalle common shares, who have all expressed their support for our offer over the Blackstone proposal, and we see no scenario in which shareholders approve Blackstone's take-under deal," Bortz said.
LaSalle shareholders who are on record as of business close at July 20 will be entitled to vote on the all-cash merger agreement with Blackstone.