Marriott International, the big Bethesda-based hotel manager, landed the contract to manage the 692-room Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami.
That may bode well for Marriott's resort hotel business -- it manages 60 resorts worldwide -- because Doral's owner, CNL Hospitality Properties of Orlando, bought the Doral and five other upscale resorts in April and, while it is keeping on KSL Recreation, the old owner, to manage the other resorts now, it isn't ruling out new managers for those as well.
The purchase of Doral, the 780-room Grand Wailea Resort & Spa on Maui, the 796-room La Quinta Resort & Club in California, and three other resorts for $1.4 billion in cash and assumption of almost $800 million in debt bulked up CNL into the nation's second-largest hotel real estate investment trust.
CNL plans to invest more than $40 million in Doral over the next three years, including building additional meeting space. On 650 acres, the resort sports five championship golf courses, 90,000 square feet of meeting space, five restaurants, the Jim McLean Golf School and the Arthur Ashe Tennis Center.
Discovery Communications, the Silver Spring cable programmer, acquired Charles W. Clark Co., a publisher of educational videos, CD-ROMs and DVDs that does business under the name Rainbow Educational Media. The private company, based in Raleigh, N.C., will become part of Discovery Education, Discovery's new education business venture. Terms were not disclosed.
Novak Biddle Venture Partners, a Bethesda venture capital firm, said it sold an undisclosed portion of its investment in N.E.W. Customer Service of Dulles, which says it is the nation's biggest independent administrator of warranty and extended-service contracts for retailers, utilities, manufacturers and financial services firms. Buyers were TH Lee Putnam Ventures and Freeman Spogli. The price was $370 million.
BAE Systems North America, a Rockville maker of electronic defense systems, completed its acquisition of Practical Imagineering of Reston for $8.3 million in cash, which BAE said will complement its capabilities in information operations. The acquisition is consistent with what BAE said is a strategy of acquiring profitable, growing businesses with strong technology. Practical Imagineering facilities will remain in Reston and operate within BAE's Electronic Warfare/Information Warfare business unit, headquartered in Nashua, N.H.
TNS of Reston said it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the public offering of 5.8 million shares of common stock. TNS expects to offer 1.2 million shares and selling stockholders expect to offer 4.6 million shares. TNS and the selling stockholders expect to grant the underwriters an option to purchase up to an additional 872,280 shares to cover over-allotments. Of these, 555,470 would be sold by TNS. Lehman Brothers and J.P. Morgan Securities are the lead underwriters for the proposed offering. The company, which went public in March, provides secure networks for ATMs and other types of electronic transactions.
Interstate Hotels & Resorts of Arlington, the nation's largest independent hotel manager, agreed to manage 54 hotels owned by affiliates of Sunstone Hotel Investors LLC, a privately held group in San Clemente, Calif. The Sunstone hotel management team will transfer to Interstate. The transaction depends on completion of an initial public offering of stock by Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. Sunstone will be a publicly traded real estate investment trust, which requires that its properties be managed by third parties. The hotels are in 16 states and have 12,643 rooms. They include 24 Marriott hotels, 16 Intercontinental hotels and eight Hilton hotels. When combined with Interstate's current portfolio, Interstate will operate 320 hotels.
Highland Hospitality, a McLean real estate investment trust, bought four hotels totaling 1,687 rooms from Wyndham International for $227 million. The four are the 510-room Hilton Parsippany in New Jersey; the 495-room Crowne Plaza Hotel Atlanta-Ravinia in Atlanta; the 360-room Wyndham Wind Watch Hotel on Long Island; and the 322-room Tremont Boston. The company plans to invest an additional $25 million to renovate, re-brand or reposition the hotels, including changing the Wind Watch hotel to the Hyatt Regency brand.
MeriStar Hospitality in Arlington, one of the nation's largest hotel real estate investment trusts, said its six hotels on Florida's Captiva and Sanibel islands were hit by Hurricane Charley but early assessments suggest repairs won't have a major impact on the REIT's bottom line. "While it is too early to fully estimate the extent of the damage, our initial assessment suggests that there was not a significant amount of structural damage to the facilities, but the landscaping damage was extensive on Captiva Island," said Paul W. Whetsell, MeriStar's chairman and chief executive.