Patriot American to change name to Wyndham

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DALLAS -- Patriot American Hospitality said it will change its name to Wyndham International and drop its real-estate-investment-trust status.

The moves were part of an agreement with a group led by New York-based Apollo Real Estate Advisors to provide an equity investment of nearly $1 billion in the hotel company.

Wyndham was acquired by Patriot American last year, and since then, the two have operated as separate companies under common ownership. Under the reorganization, Patriot will be merged into Wyndham, which becomes one of the industry's largest hotel firms, with 472 properties that are owned, managed, leased or franchised.

A Wyndham spokesman said the merged company would strengthen dealings with travel agents by bolstering the fast-growing Wyndham brand.

Patriot American also announced that its chairman and chief executive officer, Paul Nussbaum, will be replaced by James Carreker, Wyndham International's chairman and chief executive officer, who will head the merged company. The merged Wyndham International's properties include various brand names and management contracts.

Carreker said the merged company will concentrate on its core brands, which he defined as Wyndham and Grand Bay. Seven Grand Bay properties, which are grouped under the independently managed Grand Bay Hotels & Resorts Division, were acquired last year by Patriot American.

Folded into the brand, which was launched 15 years ago in the exclusive Coconut Grove section of Miami, were several other properties in Wyndham's luxury tier.

To strengthen the luxury branding, the expanded Grand Bay properties were paired with California-based Golden Door Spas, which also was acquired by Patriot American.

Its Summerfield Suites brand is operated by the firm's All-Suites Division.

Other brands include Wyndham Gardens, which are limited-service properties in strategic corporate and vacation sites, and Wyndham Grand Heritage Resorts, a collection of fine historic properties. Those two brands are managed under the Wyndham Hotel Group.

The new Wyndham International will be classified as a C corporation under plans that are expected to be finalized by June 30.

A key part of the plan calls for the Apollo-led group to provide its equity investment in return for a minority interest that can range from 29% to 41% of the combined company.

The equity investment, plus $2.45 billion in lending commitments from financial institutions, is expected to strengthen the company's balance sheet.

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