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Table of Contents

UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020
or
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Commission file number: 001-37980
COLONY CAPITAL, INC.
(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)
Maryland
 
46-4591526
(State or Other Jurisdiction of
Incorporation or Organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
750 Park of Commerce Drive, Suite 210
Boca Raton, Florida 33487
(Address of Principal Executive Offices, Including Zip Code)
(561) 570-4644
(Registrant’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code)

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of ClassTrading Symbol(s)Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
Class A Common Stock, $0.01 par value
CLNY
New York Stock Exchange
Preferred Stock, 7.50% Series G Cumulative Redeemable, $0.01 par value
CLNY.PRG
New York Stock Exchange
Preferred Stock, 7.125% Series H Cumulative Redeemable, $0.01 par value
CLNY.PRH
New York Stock Exchange
Preferred Stock, 7.15% Series I Cumulative Redeemable, $0.01 par value
CLNY.PRI
New York Stock Exchange
Preferred Stock, 7.125% Series J Cumulative Redeemable, $0.01 par value
CLNY.PRJ
New York Stock Exchange

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None.
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ý   No ¨
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act. Yes o No ý
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes   No 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes  No 



1

Table of Contents

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large Accelerated Filer
Accelerated Filer
Non-Accelerated FilerSmaller Reporting Company
Emerging Growth Company
If emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. Yes     No  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management's assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. Yes No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes No
The aggregate market value of the registrant’s voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2020 was approximately $1.14 billion. As of February 22, 2021, 492,149,296 shares of the Registrant's class A common stock and 733,931 shares of class B common stock were outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the Company’s Proxy Statement with respect to its 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be filed not later than 120 days after the end of the Company’s fiscal year ended December 31, 2020 are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
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COLONY CAPITAL, INC.
FORM 10-K
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
PART I
Item 1.
Item 1A.
Item 1B.
Item 2.
Item 3.
Item 4.
PART II
Item 5.
Item 6.
Item 7.
Item 7A.
Item 8.
Item 9.
Item 9A.
Item 9B.
PART III
Item 10.
Item 11.
Item 12.
Item 13.
Item 14.
PART IV
Item 15.
F-1
Item 16.
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FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
Some of the statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K (this "Annual Report") constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), and we intend such statements to be covered by the safe harbor provisions contained therein. Forward-looking statements relate to expectations, beliefs, projections, future plans and strategies, anticipated events or trends and similar expressions concerning matters that are not historical facts. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” or “potential” or the negative of these words and phrases or similar words or phrases which are predictions of or indicate future events or trends and which do not relate solely to historical matters. You can also identify forward-looking statements by discussions of strategy, plans or intentions.
The forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report reflect our current views about future events and are subject to numerous known and unknown risks, uncertainties, assumptions and changes in circumstances that may cause our actual results to differ significantly from those expressed in any forward-looking statement. The following factors, among others, could cause actual results and future events to differ materially from those set forth or contemplated in the forward-looking statements:
the duration and severity of the current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and its impact on the global market, economic and environmental conditions generally and in the digital and communications technology, wellness infrastructure and hospitality real estate, other commercial real estate equity and debt, and investment management sectors;
the impact of COVID-19 on the Company's operating cash flows, debt service obligations and covenants, liquidity position and valuations of its real estate investments, as well as the increased risk of claims, litigation and regulatory proceedings and uncertainty that may adversely affect the Company;
whether we will successfully execute our strategic transformation to become a digital infrastructure and real estate focused company within the timeframe contemplated or at all, and the impact of such transformation on the Company's legacy portfolios and assets, including whether such transformation will be consistent with the Company’s REIT status;
our ability to obtain and maintain financing arrangements, including securitizations, on favorable or comparable terms or at all, including our ability to extend and/or replace our corporate credit facility;
the Company's ability to complete anticipated monetizations of non-core assets within the timeframe and on the terms contemplated, if at all;
the Company's ability to complete the pending exit of the Company's hospitality business within the timeframe and on the terms contemplated, if at all, and the amount of proceeds, if any, the Company will receive as a result of the exit after the impact of transaction costs and other transaction related expenses, including any required capital contributions to the hotel portfolios prior to closing;
whether we will realize any of the anticipated benefits of the Company's pending exit from its hospitality business, if consummated;
the impact of completed or anticipated initiatives related to our digital transformation, including the acquisitions of Digital Bridge Holdings, LLC and an ownership interest in Data Bridge Holdings, LLC, the strategic investment by Wafra, and the formation of certain other investment management platforms, on our company's growth and earnings profile;
whether we will realize any of the anticipated benefits of our strategic partnership with Wafra, including whether Wafra will make additional investments in our Digital Other and Digital Operating segments;
our ability to integrate and maintain consistent standards and controls, including our ability to manage our acquisitions in the digital industry effectively (such as Digital Bridge Holdings, LLC, Data Bridge Holdings, LLC and Vantage SDC);
the impact to our business operations and financial condition of realized or anticipated compensation and administrative savings through cost reduction programs;
our ability to redeploy any proceeds received from the sale of our non-digital or other legacy assets within the timeframe and manner contemplated or at all;
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our business and investment strategy, including the ability of the businesses in which we have a significant investment (such as Colony Credit Real Estate, Inc. (NYSE:CLNC)) to execute their business strategies, particularly in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic;
CLNC's trading price and its impact on the carrying value of the Company's investment in CLNC, including whether the Company will recognize further other-than-temporary impairments on such CLNC investment;
performance of our investments relative to our expectations and the impact on our actual return on invested equity, as well as the cash provided by these investments and available for distribution;
our ability to grow our business by raising capital for the companies that we manage;
our ability to deploy capital into new investments consistent with our digital business strategies, including the earnings profile of such new investments;
the impact of adverse conditions affecting a specific asset class in which we have investments;
the availability of, and competition for, attractive investment opportunities;
our ability to achieve any of the anticipated benefits of certain joint ventures, including any ability for such ventures to create and/or distribute new investment products;
our ability to satisfy and manage our capital requirements;
our expected hold period for our assets and the impact of any changes in our expectations on the carrying value of such assets;
the general volatility of the securities markets in which we participate;
stability of the capital structure of our wellness infrastructure and hospitality portfolios;
changes in interest rates and the market value of our assets;
interest rate mismatches between our assets and any borrowings used to fund such assets;
effects of hedging instruments on our assets;
the impact of economic conditions on third parties on which we rely;
any litigation and contractual claims against us and our affiliates, including potential settlement and litigation of such claims;
our levels of leverage;
adverse domestic or international economic conditions, including those resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact on the commercial real estate or real-estate related sectors;
the impact of legislative, regulatory and competitive changes;
actions, initiatives and policies of the U.S. and non-U.S. governments and changes to U.S. or non-U.S. government policies and the execution and impact of these actions, initiatives and policies, including regulations permitting or requiring forbearance of rent obligations and inhibiting the ability to pursue evictions and obtain late fees from non-paying tenants;
whether we will maintain our qualification as a real estate investment trust for U.S. federal income tax purposes and our ability to do so;
our ability to maintain our exemption from registration as an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”);
changes in our board of directors or management team, and availability of qualified personnel;
our ability to make or maintain distributions to our stockholders; and
our understanding of our competition.
While forward-looking statements reflect our good faith beliefs, assumptions and expectations, they are not guarantees of future performance. Furthermore, we disclaim any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement to reflect changes in underlying assumptions or factors, of new information, data or methods, future events or other changes. Moreover, because we operate in a very competitive and rapidly changing environment, new risk factors are likely to emerge from time to time. We caution investors not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking
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statements and urge you to carefully review the disclosures we make concerning risks in Part I, Item 1A. “Risk Factors” and Part II, Item 7. “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in this Annual Report. Readers of this Annual Report should also read our other periodic filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission and other publicly filed documents for further discussion regarding such factors.
RISK FACTOR SUMMARY
Our business is subject to a number of risks, including risks that may prevent us from achieving our business
objectives or may adversely affect our business, financial condition, liquidity, results of operations and prospects. These
risks are discussed more fully in Item 1A. Risk Factors. These risks include, but are not limited to, the following:
Risks Related to Our Business Strategy
Our ability to effectuate our digital transformation, including by monetizing legacy assets and simplifying our business operations.
We may not successfully implement our diversified investment strategy or ultimately realize any of the anticipated benefits of diversification.
Our business vision is to be a leading owner, operator and investment manager of digital infrastructure and real estate, which may adversely impact our stock price and our intent to maintain our REIT qualification.
Pandemics or disease outbreaks, such as the current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, have and the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to continue to, significantly disrupt, and may materially adversely impact, our business, financial condition and ability to execute on our business objectives.
Risks Related to Our Digital Business
We require capital in order to continue to operate and grow our business, and the failure to obtain such capital, either through the public or private markets or other third party sources of capital, would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and ability to maintain our distributions to our stockholders.
Adverse changes in general economic and political conditions could adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The digital infrastructure and real estate industry is highly competitive and such competition may materially and adversely affect our performance and ability to execute our strategy.
The investment management business is intensely competitive.
Poor performance of our current and future managed investment vehicles could cause a decline in our revenue, income and cash flow.
Investors in our current or future managed investment vehicles may negotiate less favorable terms to us than those of investment vehicles we currently manage, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
The organization and management of our current and future investment vehicles may create conflicts of interest.
We may not realize the anticipated benefits of the Wafra strategic partnership.
Any failure of our physical infrastructure or services could lead to significant costs and disruptions that could harm our business reputation and could adversely affect our earnings and financial condition.
We do not directly control the operations of certain of our digital real estate assets and are therefore dependent on portfolio company management teams to successfully operate their businesses.
The performance of our digital assets depends upon the demand for such assets.
The infrastructure of the data centers that we own or expect to own may become obsolete, which could materially and adversely impact our revenue and operations.
Digital infrastructure and real estate investments are subject to substantial government regulation.
Risks Related to our Organizational Structure and Business Operations
There may be conflicts of interest between us and our Chief Executive Officer and certain other senior DBH employees that could result in decisions that are not in the best interests of our stockholders.
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The occurrence of a security breach or a deficiency in our cybersecurity has the potential to disrupt our operations, cause material harm to our financial condition, result in misappropriation of assets, compromise confidential information and/or damage our business relationships.
Risks Related to Financing
We may not be able to generate sufficient cash flow to meet all of our existing or potential future debt service obligations.
Changes in the debt financing markets could negatively impact our ability to obtain attractive financing or re-financing for our investments and could increase the cost of such financing if it is obtained, which could lead to lower-yielding investments and potentially decrease our net income.
Risks Related to Ownership of Our Securities
The market price of our class A common stock has been and may continue to be volatile and holders of our class A common stock could lose all or a significant portion of their investment due to drops in the market price of our class A common stock.
We may issue additional equity securities, which may dilute your interest in us.
The stock ownership limits imposed by the Code for REITs and our Charter may restrict our business combination opportunities.
Risks Related to Our Wellness Infrastructure Business
We have significant leverage on our healthcare properties, which increases the risk of loss associated with our healthcare investments, impacts our liquidity and restricts our ability to engage in certain activities.
We are directly exposed to operational risks at certain of our healthcare properties, which could adversely affect our revenue and operations.
Failure to comply with certain healthcare laws and regulations could adversely affect our operations, expose us to liability and jeopardize our tenants/operators’ abilities to meet their obligations to us.
Risks Related to Our Hospitality Business
We are subject to risks associated with our ongoing need for renovations and capital improvements at our hotel properties as well as financing these expenditures.
We have significant leverage on our hotel properties, which increases the risk of loss associated with our hotel investments, impacts our liquidity and restricts our ability to engage in certain activities.
There can be no assurance that the pending disposition of our hospitality business will be completed on the terms contemplated or at all or that we will be able to realize the anticipated benefits of such sale transaction.
Risks Related to Our Legacy Investment Management Business
Certain of our management agreements with investment vehicles that are publicly-registered companies with the SEC are subject to limitation or termination, and any such termination could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Our ownership of approximately 36% of CLNC, on a fully diluted basis, subjects us to various risks, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
Risks Related to Our Other Equity and Debt Business
Our commercial real estate equity, debt and mortgage loans underlying our commercial real estate securities investments are subject to the risks typically associated with commercial real estate ("CRE").
Regulatory Risks
Extensive regulation in the United States and abroad affects our activities, increases the cost of doing business and creates the potential for significant liabilities and that could adversely affect our business and results of operations.
Risks Related to Taxation
The ability of our board of directors to revoke our REIT election without stockholder approval may cause adverse consequences to our stockholders.
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PART I
Item 1. Business.
In this Annual Report, unless specifically stated otherwise or the context indicates otherwise, the terms " the "Company," "we," "our" and "us" refer to Colony Capital, Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries. References to the “Operating Partnership,” our “Operating Company” and the “OP” refer to Colony Capital Operating Company, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company and the operating company of the Company, and its consolidated subsidiaries.
Overview
We are a leading global investment firm with a focus on identifying and capitalizing on key secular trends in digital real estate. We are headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, with key offices in Los Angeles, New York and London, and have approximately 350 employees in 14 locations across 9 countries.
We have elected to be taxed as a real estate investment trust ("REIT") for U.S. federal income tax purposes. We conduct our operations as a REIT, and generally are not subject to U.S. federal income taxes on our taxable income to the extent that we annually distribute all of our taxable income to stockholders and maintain qualification as a REIT, although we are subject to U.S. federal income tax on income earned through our taxable subsidiaries. We also operate our business in a manner that will permit us to maintain our exemption from registration as an investment company under the 1940 Act.
We conduct substantially all of our activities and hold substantially all of our assets and liabilities through our Operating Company. At December 31, 2020, we owned 90% of the Operating Company, as its sole managing member.
Our Business
Our vision is to establish the Company as a leading owner, operator and investment manager of digital infrastructure and real estate. We are currently the only global REIT that owns, manages, and/or operates across all major infrastructure components of the digital ecosystem including data centers, cell towers, fiber networks and small cells.
To execute this vision, the Company combined with Digital Bridge Holdings, LLC (“DBH”), an investment manager dedicated to digital real estate and infrastructure, in July 2019. As a result, the Company manages $29 billion of digital assets under management (“AUM”) and $13 billion of digital fee earning equity under management (“FEEUM”) across separately capitalized and managed portfolio companies and the Digital Colony Partners flagship funds (DCP I and DCP II), along with related co-investment accounts. Marc C. Ganzi, who co-founded DBH, became the Chief Executive Officer ("CEO") and President of the Company effective July 1, 2020. In connection with Mr. Ganzi’s appointment as the Company’s CEO and President, the Board of Directors of the Company (the "Board") appointed Mr. Ganzi to the Board, also effective as of July 1, 2020. Due to his multi-decade experience in building and acquiring digital companies and managing institutional capital, Mr. Ganzi is highly equipped to lead the Company’s strategic repositioning in becoming the leading platform for digital infrastructure and real estate. Further, the combination with DBH brings its world-class team of investment professionals and management of the DBH portfolio of high performing assets under the combined Digital Colony franchise. Thomas J. Barrack, Jr., who, prior to July 1, 2020, served as the Company’s CEO and President, continues to serve in his role as Executive Chairman of the Company and the Board. In addition, Jacky Wu was appointed as the Company’s Chief Financial Officer, effective July 1, 2020.
At December 31, 2020, the Company has $42 billion of total AUM and $20 billion of total FEEUM, managed on behalf of third party investors.
The Company conducts its business through five reportable segments as follows:
Digital Investment Management ("Digital IM")—This business encompasses the investment and stewardship of third party capital in digital infrastructure and real estate. The Company's flagship opportunistic strategy is conducted through DCP and separately capitalized vehicles while other strategies, including digital credit and public equities, will be or are conducted through other investment vehicles. The Company earns management fees, generally based on the amount of assets or capital managed in investment vehicles, and have the potential to earn carried interest based on the performance of such investment vehicles subject to achievement of minimum return hurdles.
Digital Operating—This business is composed of balance sheet equity interests in digital infrastructure and real estate operating companies, which generally earn rental income from providing use of space and/or capacity in or on digital assets through leases, services and other agreements. The Company currently owns interests in two companies: DataBank, an edge colocation data center business that acquired zColo's edge business in
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December 2020; and Vantage SDC. Both DataBank and Vantage are also portfolio companies, managed under Digital IM for the equity interests owned by third party capital.
Digital Other—This segment is composed of equity interests in digital investment vehicles, the largest of which is the Company’s investment and commitment to the DCP flagship funds. This segment also includes the Company’s investment and commitment to the digital liquid strategies and seed investments for future digital investment vehicles.
Wellness Infrastructure (previously referred to as Healthcare)—This segment is composed of a diverse portfolio of senior housing, skilled nursing facilities, medical office buildings, and hospitals. The Company earns rental income from senior housing, skilled nursing facilities and hospital assets that are under net leases to single tenants/operators and from medical office buildings which are both single tenant and multi-tenant. In addition, certain of the Company's senior housing properties are managed by operators under a RIDEA (REIT Investment Diversification and Empowerment Act) structure, which allows the Company to gain financial exposure to underlying operations of the facility in a tax efficient manner versus receiving contractual rent under a net lease arrangement.
Other—This segment is composed of other equity and debt investments ("OED") and non-digital investment management business ("Other IM"). OED encompasses a diversified group of non-digital real estate and real estate-related equity and debt investments, including investments for which the Company acts as a general partner and/or manager ("GP co-investments") and receives various forms of investment management economics on related third-party capital on such investments, which includes our investment in a publicly traded REIT, Colony Credit Real Estate, Inc. (NYSE: CLNC), among other holdings. The Company has monetized a substantial portion of its OED portfolio and will continue to monetize the remainder as it completes its digital evolution. Other IM, which is separate from Digital IM, encompasses the Company’s management of private real estate credit funds and related co-investment vehicles, CLNC, and a public non-traded healthcare REIT, NorthStar Healthcare, Inc ("NorthStar Healthcare"). Many of the investments underlying these vehicles are co-owned by the Company’s balance sheet and categorized under OED. The Company earns management fees, generally based on the amount of assets or capital managed, and contractual incentive fees or potential carried interest based on the performance of the investment vehicles managed subject to achievement of minimum return hurdles.
Acceleration of Digital Transformation and COVID-19 Considerations
The world continues to face significant healthcare and economic challenges arising from the coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, global pandemic. Efforts to address the pandemic, such as social distancing, closures or reduced capacity of retail and service outlets, hotels, factories and public venues, often mandated by governments, continue to have a significant impact on the global economy and financial markets across major industries, including many sectors of real estate. In particular, the Company and its investees' real estate investments in the hospitality, wellness infrastructure and retail sectors have experienced a myriad of challenges, including, but not limited to: significant declines in operating cash flows at the Company's hotel and wellness infrastructure properties, which in turn, affected the ability to meet debt service and covenant requirements on investment-level debt (non-recourse to the Company) and ability to refinance or extend upcoming maturities; flexible lease payment terms sought by tenants; incremental property operating costs such as labor and supplies in response to COVID-19; payment defaults on the Company's loans receivable; and a distressed market affecting real estate values in general. Such adverse impact may continue well beyond the containment of the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the COVID-19 crisis may also lead to heightened risk of litigation at the investment and corporate level, with an ensuing increase in litigation and related costs.
The sharp decline and volatility in equity and debt markets, and the economic recession due to COVID-19 have adversely affected the valuation of certain of the Company's financial assets carried at fair value, such as loans receivable, and also resulted in impairment of certain non-financial assets, in particular, non-digital real estate and equity method investments.
Additionally, the COVID-19 crisis has reinforced the critical role and the resilience of the digital real estate and infrastructure sector in a global economy that is increasingly reliant on digital infrastructure. Accordingly, in the second quarter of 2020, the Company determined to accelerate its shift to a digitally-focused strategy in order to better position the Company for growth. This digital transformation requires a rotation of the Company's non-digital assets into digital-focused investments. As a result, the Company shortened its assumptions of hold periods on its non-digital assets, in particular its hotel and wellness infrastructure assets, which significantly reduced the undiscounted future net cash flows to be generated by these assets below their carrying values at June 30, 2020. The shortfall in estimated future net cash flows from these assets was further exacerbated by the negative effects of COVID-19 on property operations and market values, as noted above. As a result, significant impairment was recognized in the second quarter of 2020 on the
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Company's hotel and wellness infrastructure assets. In the third quarter of 2020, as the Company expects to exit its hospitality business through a sale of its hotel assets (as discussed further below), additional write-downs were recorded to align the hotel carrying values to the agreed upon selling price. The acceleration of the Company's digital transformation and the overall reduction in value of the Company's non-digital balance sheet also caused a shortfall in the fair value of the Company's other investment management reporting unit over its carrying value, resulting in significant impairment to the other investment management goodwill in the second quarter of 2020.
The various impairment and fair value decreases as a result of the acceleration of the Company's digital transformation collectively accounted for $3.2 billion of charges in 2020, of which $2.5 billion was attributable to the OP. These amounts are reflected within impairment loss, other loss, equity method losses and within impairment loss in discontinued operations on the statement of operations, as discussed further in Item 15. "Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules" of this Annual Report.
The Company believes that it has materially addressed overall recoverability in value in its financial statements across all of its non-digital assets as of December 31, 2020, applying the Company's best estimates and assumptions at this time based upon external factors known to date and the Company's expected digital transformation timeline. If the extent and duration of the economic effects of COVID-19 negatively affect the Company's financial condition and results of operations beyond the Company's current projections, the estimates and assumptions currently applied by the Company may change, which may lead to further impairment and fair value decreases in its non-digital assets that could be material in the future.
In light of the Company's strategy to accelerate its digital transformation, the Company will continue to evaluate whether it will maintain REIT status for 2021 or future years.
Exit of the Hospitality Business
In September 2020, the Company entered into a definitive agreement with a third party to sell five of the six hotel portfolios in its Hospitality segment and its 55.6% interest in a portfolio of limited service hotels that were acquired through a consensual foreclosure in July 2017 (the "THL Hotel Portfolio"), in the Other segment, composed of 197 hotel properties in aggregate. The remaining portfolio in the Hospitality segment is in receivership and the remaining interests in the THL Hotel Portfolio will continue to be held by investment vehicles managed by the Company. Two of the hotel portfolios that are being sold in the Hospitality segment are held through joint ventures in which the Company holds a 90% and a 97.5% interest, respectively. The aggregate gross proceeds of $67.5 million, subject to certain adjustments as provided in the sale agreement, as amended, represents a transaction value of approximately $2.8 billion, with the acquirer's assumption of $2.7 billion of investment-level debt. Consummation of the sale is subject to customary closing conditions, including but not limited to, acquirer’s assumption of the outstanding mortgage notes encumbering the hotel properties and third party approvals. In October 2020 and February 2021, the parties amended the sale agreement to address certain payments made or that may be made by the Company to lenders or otherwise in connection with the hospitality portfolios, and, subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, to provide the Company with a purchase price credit for a portion of such funded amounts. The sale is expected to close in the first half of 2021. There can be no assurance that the sale will close in the timeframe contemplated or on the terms anticipated, if at all.
The Company’s pending exit from the hospitality business represents a key milestone in its digital transformation. Accordingly, the sale of these hotel portfolios is a strategic shift that will have a significant effect on the Company’s operations and financial results, and has met the criteria as held for sale and discontinued operations. For all current and prior periods presented, the related assets and liabilities are presented as assets and liabilities held for disposition on the consolidated balance sheets and the related operating results are presented as loss from discontinued operations on the consolidated statements of operations (refer to Item 15. "Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules" of this Annual Report).
Investment Strategy
We plan to invest in digital infrastructure and real estate assets in which we have a competitive advantage with our experience and track record in this sector, and which possess a durable cash flow profile with compelling secular growth characteristics driven by key themes such as 5G, artificial intelligence and cloud-based applications. We believe our deep understanding of commercial real estate and digital infrastructure, together with our extensive experience running mission-critical network infrastructure for some of the world's largest and most-profitable companies, will provide us with a significant advantage in identifying and executing on attractive opportunities through various economic cycles.
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We believe we can achieve our business objective of delivering attractive risk-adjusted returns through our rigorous underwriting and asset management processes, which benefit from our deep operational and investment experience in commercial real estate and digital infrastructure, having invested in and run digital infrastructures businesses through multiple economic cycles. These processes allow us to implement a flexible yet disciplined investment strategy for our balance sheet and for the companies and funds we manage on behalf of third parties. Core strengths and principles of our investment strategy include:
People—Established operators, investors and thought leaders with over two decades of experience in towers, data centers, fiber and small cells
Best-in-class assets—Own mission-critical and hard-to-replicate network infrastructure supporting many of the largest and most-profitable companies in the world and typically with very high renewal rates and pricing; Digital Colony has already successfully constructed a portfolio of best-in-class assets within its investment management business across all components of the digital ecosystem to drive significant synergies
Disciplined framework
Four corners of asset selection—(i) market dynamics, with a focus on stable markets with catalysts for near-term digital infrastructure investment and downside protection for asset owners, (ii) asset quality, with a focus on unique, hard-to-replicate assets and assets that provide mission critical services to customers with high switching costs, (iii) contract quality, with a focus on long-term contracts with investment grade customers and build in maximum flexibility to add additional tenants, and (iv) management or platform potential, with an emphasis on buy and build strategies with initial investments used as a platform to drive growth organically and through acquisitions
Alpha creation—Drive outperformance through human capital decisions, direct operating experience, proprietary back-office systems, differentiated merger and acquisitions program and dynamic balance sheet management
Operational excellence—Emphasis on strong organic leasing growth, extensive greenfield development expertise, and the highest environmental, social and governance ("ESG") standards
Proprietary deal flow—Focus on compelling proprietary investment opportunities in brownfield, greenfield and new white sheet business plans and carveouts that avoid competitive auctions, facilitating lower entry multiples
Products—Provide flexible and creative solutions across the capital structure to digital real estate and infrastructure companies around the world
Prudent leverage—Structuring transactions with the appropriate amount of leverage, if any, based on the risk, duration and structure of cash flows of the underlying asset
Our investment strategy is dynamic and flexible, which enables us to adapt to shifts in economic, real estate and capital market conditions and to exploit inefficiencies around the world. Consistent with this strategy, in order to capitalize on the investment opportunities that may be present in various points of an economic cycle, we may expand or change our investment strategy or target assets over time as appropriate.
Financing Strategy
Our financing strategy in general is to favor investment-specific financing principally on a non-recourse basis including securitizations, and then corporate financing, which is generally recourse to the Company or the Company’s assets. We seek to match terms and currencies, as available and applicable, and the amount of leverage we use is based on our assessment of a variety of factors, including, among others, the anticipated liquidity and price volatility of the assets in our investment portfolio, the potential for losses and extension risk in our portfolio, the ability to raise additional equity to reduce leverage and create liquidity for future investments, the availability of credit at favorable prices or at all, the credit quality of our assets, our outlook for borrowing costs relative to the income earned on our assets and financial covenants within our credit facilities.
Our decision to use leverage to finance our assets is at our discretion and not subject to the approval of our stockholders. To the extent that we use leverage in the future, we may mitigate interest rate risk through utilization of hedging instruments, primarily interest rate swap and cap agreements, to serve as a hedge against future interest rate increases on our borrowings. Refer to "Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources” for discussion of our liquidity needs and sources of liquidity.
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Risk Management
Risk management is a significant component of our strategy to deliver consistent risk-adjusted returns to our stockholders. The audit committee of our board of directors, in consultation with our chief risk officer, internal auditor and management, maintains oversight of risk management matters, and periodically reviews our policies with respect to risk assessment and risk management, including key risks to which we are subject, including credit risk, liquidity risk, financing risk, foreign currency risk and market risk, and the steps that management has taken to monitor and control such risks.
Underwriting and Investment Process
In connection with executing any new investment in digital assets for our balance sheet or a managed investment vehicle, our underwriting team undertakes a comprehensive due diligence process to ensure that we understand all of the material risks involved with making such investment, in addition to related accounting, legal, financial and business issues. If the risks can be sufficiently mitigated in relation to the potential return, we will pursue the investment on behalf of our balance sheet and/or investment vehicles, subject to approval from the applicable investment committee, composed of senior executives of the Company.
Specifically, as part of our underwriting process, we evaluate and review the following data, including, but not limited to: financial data including historical and budgeted financial statements, tenant or customer quality, lease terms and structure, renewal probability, capital expenditure plans, sales pipeline, technical/energy requirements and supply, local and macroeconomic market conditions, ESG, leverage and comparable transactions, as applicable. For debt investments, we also analyze metrics such as loan-to-collateral value ratios, debt service coverage ratios, debt yields, sponsor credit ratings and performance history.
In addition to evaluating the merits of any particular proposed investment, we evaluate the diversification of our or a particular managed investment vehicle’s portfolio of assets, as the case may be. Prior to making a final investment decision, we determine whether a target asset will cause the portfolio of assets to be too heavily concentrated with, or cause too much risk exposure to, any one digital real estate sector, geographic region, source of cash flow such as tenants or borrowers, or other geopolitical issues. If we determine that a proposed investment presents excessive concentration risk, we may decide not to pursue an otherwise attractive investment.
Allocation Procedures
We currently manage, and may in the future manage, private funds, REITs and other entities that have investment and/or rate of return objectives similar to our own or to other investment vehicles that we manage. In order to address the risk of potential conflicts of interest among us and our managed investment vehicles, we have implemented an investment allocation policy consistent with our duty as a registered investment adviser to treat our managed investment vehicles fairly and equitably over time. Pursuant to this policy, and subject to certain priority rights in our DCP funds, investment allocation decisions are based on a suitability assessment involving a review of numerous factors, including the particular source of capital’s investment objectives, available cash, diversification/concentration, leverage policy, the size of the investment, tax, anticipated pipeline of suitable investments and fund life.
Portfolio Management
The comprehensive portfolio management process generally includes day-to-day oversight by the Company's portfolio management team, regular management meetings and quarterly asset review process. These processes are designed to enable management to evaluate and proactively identify investment-specific issues and trends on a portfolio-wide basis for both assets on our balance sheet and assets of the companies within our investment management business. Nevertheless, we cannot be certain that such review will identify all issues within our portfolio due to, among other things, adverse economic conditions or events adversely affecting specific assets; therefore, potential future losses may also stem from investments that are not identified during these reviews.
We use many methods to actively manage our risk to preserve our income and capital, including, but not limited to, maintaining dialogue with tenants, operators, partners and/or borrowers and performing regular inspections of our collateral and owned properties. With respect to our wellness infrastructure properties, we consider the impact of regulatory changes on operator performance and property values. During a quarterly review, or more frequently as necessary, investments are monitored and identified for possible asset impairment or loan loss reserves, as applicable, based upon several factors, including missed or late contractual payments, significant declines in property operating performance and other data which may indicate a potential issue in our ability to recover our invested capital from an investment. In addition, we may utilize services of certain strategic partnerships and joint ventures with third parties with relevant expertise to assist our portfolio management.
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In order to maintain our qualification as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes and our exemption from registration under the 1940 Act, and maximize returns and manage portfolio risk, we may dispose of an asset earlier than anticipated or hold an asset longer than anticipated if we determine it to be appropriate depending upon prevailing market conditions or factors regarding a particular asset. We can provide no assurances, however, that we will be successful in identifying or managing all of the risks associated with acquiring, holding or disposing of a particular asset or that we will not realize losses on certain assets.
Interest Rate and Foreign Currency Hedging
Subject to maintaining our qualification as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes and our exemption from registration under the 1940 Act, we may mitigate the risk of interest rate volatility through the use of hedging instruments, such as interest rate swap agreements and interest rate cap agreements. The goal of our interest rate management strategy is to minimize or eliminate the effects of interest rate changes on the value of our assets, to improve risk-adjusted returns and, where possible, to lock in, on a long-term basis, a favorable spread between the yield on our assets and the cost of financing such assets. In addition, because we are exposed to foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations, we employ foreign currency risk management strategies, including the use of, among others, currency hedges, and matched currency financing. We can provide no assurances, however, that our efforts to manage interest rate and foreign currency exchange rate volatility will successfully mitigate the risks of such volatility on our portfolio.
Competition
As an investment manager with significant balance sheet investments, we primarily compete for capital from outside investors and in our pursuit and execution of attractive investments on behalf of our balance sheet and investment funds.
The ability to source capital from outside investors will depend on our reputation, investment track record, pricing and terms for the management of capital, and market environment for capital raising, among other factors. We compete with other investment managers focused on or active in digital real estate and infrastructure including other private equity sponsors, credit and hedge fund sponsors and REITs, who may have greater financial resources, longer track records, more established relationships and more attractive fund terms, including fees.
The ability to transact on attractive investments will depend on execution reputation, capital availability, tolerance for risk, cost of capital, number of potential buyers and pricing, among other factors. We face competition from a variety of institutional investors, including other REITs, investment managers of private equity, infrastructure, credit, hedge and other funds, specialty finance companies, commercial and investment banks, commercial finance and insurance companies, and other financial institutions. Some of these competitors may have greater financial resources, access to lower cost of capital and access to funding sources that may not be available to the Company. In addition, some of our competitors may have higher risk tolerances or different risk assessments, which could allow them to consider a wider variety of investments, or pay higher prices, than we can. Furthermore, some of our competitors are not subject to the operating constraints associated with REIT compliance or maintenance of an exemption from the 1940 Act.
Also, competition in the markets in which our properties operate from existing or newly renovated properties could adversely affect the operating performance of our properties, and thus our financial results. Competition may also require us to make capital improvements or incur additional costs that we otherwise might not choose to make, which may adversely affect the profitability of our properties.
We also face competition in the recruitment and retention of qualified and skilled personnel. Our ability to continue to compete effectively in our businesses will depend upon our ability to attract new employees and retain and motivate our existing employees.
An increase in competition across the various components of our business may limit our ability to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns for our stockholders, thereby adversely affecting the market price of our common stock.
Seasonality
Other than the operations of our hotel business which is currently pending disposition, we generally do not experience any pronounced seasonality in our business.
Regulations
REIT Qualification
We have elected to be taxed as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes.