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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019

OR

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from ___ to ___

Commission File Number 001-37795

 

Park Hotels & Resorts Inc.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its Charter)

 

 

Delaware

36-2058176

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)

 

 

1775 Tysons Boulevard, 7th Floor, Tysons, VA

22102

(Address of principal executive offices)

(Zip Code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (571) 302-5757

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

 

Title of each class

Trading Symbol

Name of exchange on which registered

Common Stock, $0.01 par value per share

PK

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  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  No 

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 

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 definition 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 filer

 

  

Small reporting company

 

 

 

 

 

Emerging growth company

 

 

If an 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 provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes  No 

As of June 30, 2019, the aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $5,527 million (based upon the closing sale price of the common stock on that date on the New York Stock Exchange).

The number of shares of common stock outstanding on February 24, 2020 was 240,184,706.

Documents incorporated by reference: The information called for by Part III will be incorporated by reference from the registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement for the 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be filed pursuant to Regulation 14A.

 

 

 

 


 

Table of Contents

 

 

 

Page

PART I

 

 

Item 1.

Business

4

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

12

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

35

Item 2.

Properties

35

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

37

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

37

 

 

 

PART II

 

 

Item 5.

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

38

Item 6.

Selected Financial Data

40

Item 7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

42

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

60

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

61

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

97

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures

97

Item 9B.

Other Information

97

 

 

 

PART III

 

 

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

98

Item 11.

Executive Compensation

98

Item 12.

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

98

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

98

Item 14.

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

98

 

 

 

PART IV

 

 

Item 15.

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

99

Item 16.

Form 10-K Summary

102

 

 

 

1


 

 

Forward-Looking Statements

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (“Securities Act”), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (“Exchange Act”). Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements related to our expectations regarding the performance of our business, our financial results, our liquidity and capital resources, the effects of competition and the effects of future legislation or regulations and other non-historical statements. Forward-looking statements include all statements that are not historical facts, and in some cases, can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as the words “outlook,” “believes,” “expects,” “potential,” “continues,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “could,” “seeks,” “projects,” “predicts,” “intends,” “plans,” “estimates,” “anticipates” or the negative version of these words or other comparable words.

Forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed in these forward-looking statements. You should not put undue reliance on any forward-looking statements and we urge investors to carefully review the disclosures we make concerning risk and uncertainties in Item 1A: “Risk Factors” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

The risk factors discussed in Item 1A: “Risk Factors” could cause our results to differ materially from those expressed in forward-looking statements. There may be other risks and uncertainties that we are unable to predict at this time or that we currently do not expect to have a material adverse effect on our business. Any such risks could cause our results to differ materially from those expressed in forward-looking statements.

Definitions

Except where the context suggests otherwise, we define certain terms in this Annual Report on Form 10-K as follows:

 

“Adjusted EBITDA” means EBITDA (as defined below) further adjusted to exclude: (i) gains or losses on sales of assets for both consolidated and unconsolidated investments; (ii) gains or losses on foreign currency transactions; (iii) transition expense related to our establishment as an independent, publicly traded company; (iv) costs associated with hotel acquisitions or dispositions expensed during the period; (v) severance expense; (vi) share-based compensation expense; (vii) casualty gains or losses and impairment losses; and (viii) other items that we believe are not representative of our current or future operating performance. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for information regarding our use of Adjusted EBITDA, which is a non-GAAP financial measure.

 

“Adjusted FFO attributable to stockholders” means Nareit funds from operations (“FFO”) attributable to stockholders (as defined below), as further adjusted to exclude: (i) gains or losses on foreign currency transactions; (ii) transition expense related to our establishment as an independent, publicly traded company; (iii)  costs associated with hotel acquisitions or dispositions expensed during the period; (iv) severance expense; (v) share-based compensation expense; (vi) casualty gains or losses, and (vii) other items that we believe are not representative of our current or future operating performance. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for information regarding our use of Adjusted FFO attributable to stockholders, which is a non-GAAP financial measure.

 

“ADR” or “average daily rate” represents rooms revenue divided by total number of room nights sold in a given period.

 

“comparable hotels” represent those hotels that: (i) were active and operating in our portfolio since January 1st of the previous year; and (ii) have not sustained substantial property damage or business interruption, have not undergone large-scale capital projects or for which comparable results are not available.

 

“EBITDA” reflects net income excluding depreciation and amortization, interest income, interest expense, income taxes and also interest expense, income tax and depreciation and amortization included in equity in earnings from investments in affiliates. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for information regarding our use of EBITDA, which is a non-GAAP financial measure.

 

“HGV” refers to Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries, and references to “HGV Parent” refers only to Hilton Grand Vacations Inc., exclusive of its subsidiaries.

 

“Hilton” refers to Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries, and references to “Hilton Parent” or “Parent” refers only to Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., exclusive of its subsidiaries.

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“Hotel Adjusted EBITDA” measures hotel-level results before debt service, depreciation and corporate expenses for our consolidated hotels, including both comparable and non-comparable hotels but excluding hotels owned by unconsolidated affiliates. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for information regarding our use of Hotel Adjusted EBITDA, which is a non-GAAP financial measure.

 

a “luxury” hotel refers to a luxury hotel as defined by Smith Travel Research (“STR”).

 

“Nareit FFO attributable to stockholders” means net income (loss) attributable to stockholders (calculated in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“U.S. GAAP”)), excluding depreciation and amortization, gains or losses on sales of assets, impairment, and the cumulative effect of changes in accounting principles, plus adjustments for unconsolidated joint ventures. Adjustments for unconsolidated joint ventures are calculated to reflect our pro rata share of the FFO of those entities on the same basis. We calculate Nareit FFO attributable to stockholders for a given operating period in accordance with the guidelines of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (“Nareit”) and its December 2018 “Nareit Funds from Operations White Paper – 2018 Restatement”. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for information regarding our use of Nareit FFO attributable to stockholders, which is a non-GAAP financial measure.

 

“occupancy” represents the total number of room nights sold divided by the total number of room nights available at a hotel or group of hotels.

 

“Park Hotels & Resorts,” “we,” “our,” “us” and the “Company” refer to Park Hotels & Resorts Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries, and references to “Park Parent” refers only to Park Hotels & Resorts Inc., exclusive of its subsidiaries.

 

“RevPAR” or “revenue per available room” represents rooms revenue divided by the total number of room nights available to guests for a given period.

 

“Select Hotels” means the hotels that are managed by us rather than a third-party hotel management company, consisting of the following four hotels: the Hilton Garden Inn LAX/El Segundo in Los Angeles, California; the Hampton Inn & Suites Memphis—Shady Grove in Memphis, Tennessee, the Hilton Suites Chicago/Oak Brook in Chicago, Illinois and the Hilton Garden Inn Chicago/Oak Brook in Chicago, Illinois.

 

“TRS” refers to a taxable REIT subsidiary under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), and includes any subsidiaries or other, lower-tier entities of that taxable REIT subsidiary.

 

an “upper midscale” hotel refers to an upper midscale hotel as defined by STR.

 

an “upper upscale” hotel refers to an upper upscale hotel as defined by STR.

 

an “upscale” hotel refers to an upscale hotel as defined by STR.

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PART I

Item 1. Business

Our Company

We are the second largest publicly-traded lodging real estate investment trust (“REIT”) with a diverse portfolio of market-leading hotels and resorts with significant underlying real estate value. We were originally formed as Hilton Hotels Corporation, a Delaware corporation, in 1946 and existed as a part of one of Hilton’s business segments. On January 3, 2017, Hilton Parent completed the spin-off that resulted in our establishment as an independent, publicly traded company. As of February 27, 2020, our portfolio consists of 60 premium-branded hotels and resorts with over 33,000 rooms, primarily located in prime United States (“U.S.”) markets with high barriers to entry. Over 86% of our rooms are luxury and upper upscale and all of our rooms are located in the U.S. and its territories. We are focused on consistently delivering superior risk-adjusted returns to stockholders through active asset management and a thoughtful external growth strategy while maintaining a strong and flexible balance sheet.

On September 18, 2019, pursuant to the terms and subject to the conditions set forth in the Agreement and Plan of Merger (the “Merger Agreement”), dated as of May 5, 2019, by and among Park Parent, PK Domestic Property LLC, an indirect subsidiary of Park Parent (“PK Domestic”), PK Domestic Sub LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of PK Domestic (“Merger Sub”) and Chesapeake Lodging Trust (“Chesapeake”), Chesapeake merged with and into Merger Sub (the “Merger”). Park Intermediate Holdings LLC (our “Operating Company”), continues to directly or indirectly, hold all of our assets and conduct all of our operations. Park Parent owns 100% of the interests in our Operating Company.

We are treated as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and we believe we have been organized and operated, and expect to continue to be organized and operate, in a manner to qualify as a REIT.

Our Business and Growth Strategies

Our objective is to be the preeminent lodging REIT, focused on consistently delivering superior, risk-adjusted returns to stockholders through active asset management and a thoughtful external growth strategy while maintaining a strong and flexible balance sheet. We intend to pursue this objective through the following strategies:

 

Maximizing Hotel Profitability through Active Asset Management. We are focused on continually improving the operating performance and profitability of each of our hotels and resorts through our proactive asset management efforts. We will continue to identify revenue-enhancement opportunities and drive cost efficiencies to maximize the operating performance, cash flow and value of each property. As a pure-play lodging real estate company with significant financial resources and an extensive portfolio of large, multi-use assets, including 9 hotels with 125,000 square feet of meeting space or more, we believe our ability to implement compelling return on investment initiatives represents a significant embedded growth opportunity. These may include the expansion of meeting platforms in convention and resort markets; the upgrade or redevelopment of existing amenities, including retail platforms, food and beverage outlets, pools and other facilities; the development of vacant land into income-generating uses, including retail or mixed-use properties; or the redevelopment or optimization of underutilized spaces. We also may create value through repositioning certain hotels across brands or chain scale segments and exploring adaptive reuse opportunities to ensure our assets achieve their highest and best use. Finally, we are focused on maintaining the competitive strength of our properties and adapting to evolving customer preferences by renovating properties to provide updated guestroom design, open and activated lobby areas, food and beverage and public spaces, and modernized meeting space.

 

Pursuing Growth and Diversification through Prudent Capital Allocation. We intend to leverage our scale, liquidity and transaction expertise to create value throughout all phases of the lodging cycle through opportunistic acquisitions and dispositions, which we believe will enable us to further diversify our portfolio.  For example, in September 2019, we completed the $2.5 billion acquisition of Chesapeake, which helped us to increase our scale and achieve greater diversification. Additionally, since our spin-off, we have sold 23 hotels located in lower growth domestic and non-core international markets for a combined sales price of approximately $1.2 billion, providing us with liquidity to execute on a variety of strategic corporate initiatives. In 2018, a portion of the proceeds from these sales was used to repurchase 14,000,000 shares of our common stock for $348 million and declare special cash dividends of $0.75 per share, or approximately $150 million. In 2019, capital recycling proceeds helped to fund the acquisition of Chesapeake and pay down debt. We will continue to opportunistically seek to expand our presence in target markets and further diversify over time, including by acquiring hotels that are affiliated with leading hotel brands and operators.

 

Maintaining a Strong and Flexible Balance Sheet. We intend to maintain a strong and flexible balance sheet with continued focus on optimizing our cost of capital by targeting appropriate leverage levels, which we seek to maintain between three- to five-times net debt (calculated as our long-term debt and our share of investments in affiliates’ debt, both excluding deferred financing costs, reduced by both our cash and cash equivalents and our restricted cash) to Adjusted EBITDA throughout the lodging cycle. We will also focus on maintaining sufficient liquidity with minimal short-term maturities and intend to have a mix of debt that will provide us with the flexibility to prepay when desired, dispose of assets, pursue our value enhancement strategies within our existing portfolio, and support acquisition activity. Additionally, we expect to reduce our level of secured debt over time, which will provide additional balance sheet flexibility. Our senior management team has extensive experience managing capital structures over multiple lodging cycles and has extensive and long-standing relationships with numerous lending institutions and financial advisors to address our capital needs.

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Our Properties

The following tables provide summary information regarding our portfolio as of February 27, 2020.

 

Brand Affiliations and Chain Scale

We own and lease hotels and resorts primarily in the upper upscale chain scale segment. The following table sets forth our portfolio by brand affiliations and chain scale segment:

 

Brand

 

Chain Scale

 

Number of Properties

 

 

Total Rooms

 

Hilton Hotels & Resorts

 

Upper Upscale

 

 

25

 

 

 

22,042

 

DoubleTree by Hilton

 

Upscale

 

 

9

 

 

 

3,733

 

Embassy Suites by Hilton

 

Upper Upscale

 

 

5

 

 

 

1,259

 

W Hotels

 

Luxury

 

 

3

 

 

 

1,020

 

Hyatt Regency

 

Upper Upscale

 

 

2

 

 

 

940

 

Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts

 

Luxury

 

 

2

 

 

 

813

 

Marriott

 

Upper Upscale

 

 

1

 

 

 

430

 

Marriott Tribute Portfolio

 

Upper Upscale

 

 

1

 

 

 

393

 

Curio - A Collection by Hilton

 

Upper Midscale

 

 

2

 

 

 

374

 

Le Meridien

 

Upper Upscale

 

 

1

 

 

 

360

 

JW Marriott

 

Luxury

 

 

1

 

 

 

344

 

Hyatt Centric

 

Upper Upscale

 

 

1

 

 

 

316

 

Hilton Garden Inn

 

Upscale

 

 

2

 

 

 

290

 

Hotel Indigo

 

Upper Upscale

 

 

1

 

 

 

210

 

Courtyard by Marriott

 

Upscale

 

 

1

 

 

 

204

 

Homewood Suites by Hilton

 

Upscale

 

 

1

 

 

 

195

 

Marriott Autograph Collection

 

Upper Upscale

 

 

1

 

 

 

171

 

Hampton by Hilton

 

Upper Midscale

 

 

1

 

 

 

131

 

Total

 

 

 

 

60

 

 

 

33,225

 

 

Type of Property Interest

The following table sets forth our properties according to the nature of our real estate interest:

 

Types of Interest

 

Number of Properties

 

 

Total Rooms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fee Simple(1)

 

 

39

 

 

 

23,209

 

Ground Lease

 

 

14

 

 

 

5,719

 

 

 

 

53

 

 

 

28,928

 

Unconsolidated Joint Ventures(2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fee Simple

 

 

4

 

 

 

2,452

 

Ground Lease

 

 

3

 

 

 

1,845

 

 

 

 

7

 

 

 

4,297

 

Total

 

 

60

 

 

 

33,225

 

 

(1) 

Includes certain properties that, while primarily owned fee simple, are subject to ground lease in respect of certain portions of land or facilities. Refer to “—Ground Leases,” Item 2: “Properties,” and Note 9: “Leases” in our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional information.

(2) 

Seven of our hotels are owned by unconsolidated joint ventures in which we hold an interest. Refer to Item 2: “Properties” for the percentage ownership in such unconsolidated joint ventures.

Hotel Laundry Operations

We own and operate three commercial laundry facilities located in Piscataway, New Jersey, Portage, Indiana, and Portland, Oregon that service approximately 50 hotels, including five of our owned hotels, and employ more than 200 full-time employees. Revenue from our commercial laundry operations accounted for less than half a percent of our consolidated revenue in each of the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017.

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Sustainability

We incorporate sustainability into our investment and asset management strategies, with a focus on minimizing environmental impact. During the acquisition of new properties, we will assess both sustainability opportunities and climate change-related risks as part of our due diligence process. During the ownership of our properties, we seek to invest in proven sustainability practices in our redevelopment projects that can enhance asset value, while also improving environmental performance. In such projects, we target specific environmental efficiency enhancements, equipment upgrades and replacements that reduce energy and water consumption and offer appropriate returns on investment. As part of our asset management strategy, we also work with our various hotel managers to monitor environmental performance and support implementation of operational best practices. We are committed to being a responsible corporate citizen and minimizing our impact on the environment. Our approach to corporate citizenship is reinforced by periodic engagement with key stakeholders to understand their corporate responsibility priorities. In addition, we have published our 2019 Annual Corporate Responsibility Report on our website, which discloses our environmental and social programs and performance.

Our Principal Agreements

In order for us to continue to qualify as a REIT, independent third parties must operate our hotels. Except for the Select Hotels, we lease substantially all of our hotels to our TRS lessees, which, in turn have engaged third parties to operate these hotels pursuant to management agreements. Certain of our hotels also have franchise agreements. We may, in the future, re-flag existing properties, acquire additional properties that operate under other brands and/or engage other third-party hotel managers and franchisors.

Below is a general overview of our management and franchise agreements.

Management Agreements

Our hotel managers control the day-to-day operations of our hotels that are subject to a management agreement. We have consultative and specified approval rights with respect to certain actions of our hotel managers, including entering into long-term or high value contracts, engaging in certain actions relating to legal proceedings, approving the operating budget, making certain capital expenditures and the hiring of certain management personnel.

As in our franchise agreements described below, we receive a variety of services and benefits under our management agreements with our hotel managers, including the benefit of the name, marks and system of operation of the brand, as well as centralized reservation systems, participation in customer loyalty programs, national advertising, marketing programs and publicity designed to increase brand awareness, as well as training of personnel and payroll and accounting services.

Term

Our management agreements have initial terms ranging from 5 to 30 years and most allow for one or more renewal periods. Assuming all renewal periods are exercised by our hotel managers, the total term of our management agreements range between 5 and 70 years.

Fees

Our management agreements generally contain a two-tiered fee structure, where our hotel managers receive a base management fee and an incentive management fee. The base management fee for our hotels range from approximately 2% to 4% of gross hotel revenues or receipts, as defined in each agreement. The incentive management fee is typically a percentage of a specified performance measure such as operating income, cash flow or other performance measures, as defined in the agreements with some agreements only providing for incentive fees following the satisfaction of certain dollar thresholds. We also pay certain service fees to our hotel managers and generally reimburse our hotel managers for salaries and wages of their employees at our hotels, as well as for certain other expenses incurred in connection with the operation of the hotel.

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Termination Events

Subject to certain qualifications, notice requirements and applicable cure periods, the management agreements generally are terminable by either party upon a material casualty or condemnation of the hotel or the occurrence of certain customary events of default, including, among others: the bankruptcy or insolvency of either party; the failure of either party to make a payment when due, and failure to cure such non-payment after late payment notice; or breach by either party of covenants or obligations under the management agreement. In certain instances, we retain the right to terminate a management agreement if manager fails to meet specified performance criteria.

Additionally, our hotel managers generally have the right to terminate the management agreement in certain situations, including the occurrence of certain actions with respect to a mortgage or our failing to complete or commence required repair after damage or destruction to the hotel, or our failure to meet minimum brand standards. For certain properties, our management agreements also allow early termination, subject to entering into a franchise agreement with an affiliated brand. If our hotel managers terminate due to our default, our hotel managers may exercise all of their rights and remedies at law or in equity.

Sale of a Hotel

Our management agreements generally provide that we cannot sell a hotel to a person who (i) does not have sufficient financial resources, (ii) is of bad moral character, (iii) is a competitor of our hotel managers or (iv) is a specially designated national or blocked person, as set forth in the applicable management agreement. It is generally an event of default if we proceed with a sale or an assignment of the hotel’s management agreement to such a transferee, without receiving consent from our hotel managers.

Franchise Agreements

Certain of our hotels are subject to franchise agreements. Pursuant to the franchise agreements, we have been granted a limited, non-exclusive license to use our franchisor’s brand names, marks and systems. The franchisor also may provide us with a variety of services and benefits, including centralized reservation systems, participation in customer loyalty programs, national advertising, marketing programs and publicity designed to increase brand awareness, as well as training of personnel. In return, we are required to operate franchised hotels consistent with the applicable brand standards. The franchise agreements specify operational, record-keeping, accounting, reporting and marketing standards and procedures with which we must comply, and will promote consistency across the brand by outlining standards for guest services, products, signage and furniture, fixtures and equipment, among other things. To monitor our compliance, the franchise agreements specify that we must make the hotel available for quality inspections by the franchisor.

Term

Our franchise agreements contain an initial term of between 7 and 20 years and require the franchisor’s consent to be extended.

Fees

Our franchise agreements require that we pay a royalty fee on gross rooms revenue at rates ranging from 4% to 6%, plus a percentage of food and beverage revenue for certain hotels, which in most cases is 3%. We must also pay certain marketing, reservation, program and other customary fees. In addition, the franchisor has the right to require that we renovate guest rooms and public facilities from time to time to comply with then-current brand standards.

Termination Events

Our franchise agreements provide for termination at the franchisor’s option upon the occurrence of certain events, including, among others: the failure to maintain brand standards; the failure to pay royalties and fees or to perform other obligations under the franchise license; bankruptcy; and abandonment of the franchise or a change of control, and in the event of such termination, we are required to pay liquidated damages.

Spin-Off Related Agreements

 

We were originally formed as Hilton Hotels Corporation, a Delaware corporation, in 1946 and existed as a part of one of Hilton’s business segments. On January 3, 2017, Hilton Parent completed the spin-off that resulted in our establishment as an independent, publicly traded company.

 

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Distribution Agreement

We entered into a distribution agreement (“Distribution Agreement”) with Hilton Parent regarding the principal actions taken or to be taken in connection with the spin-off. The Distribution Agreement provided for certain transfers of assets and assumptions of liabilities by us and Hilton Parent and the settlement or extinguishment of certain liabilities and other obligations among Hilton Parent and us. In particular, the Distribution Agreement provided that, subject to the terms and conditions contained in the Distribution Agreement:

 

all of the assets and liabilities (including whether accrued, contingent or otherwise, and subject to certain exceptions) associated with the separated real estate business were retained by or transferred to us;

 

all of the assets and liabilities (including whether accrued, contingent or otherwise, and subject to certain exceptions) associated with the timeshare business were retained by or transferred to HGV Parent or its subsidiaries;

 

all other assets and liabilities (including whether accrued, contingent or otherwise, and subject to certain exceptions) of Hilton were retained by or transferred to Hilton Parent or its subsidiaries;

 

liabilities (including whether accrued, contingent or otherwise) related to, arising out of or resulting from businesses of Hilton that were previously terminated or divested were allocated among the parties to the extent formerly owned or managed by or associated with such parties or their respective businesses;

 

each of Park Parent and HGV Parent assumed or retained any liabilities (including under applicable U.S. federal and state securities laws) relating to, arising out of or resulting from the Form 10 registering its common stock to be distributed by Hilton Parent in the spin-off and from any disclosure documents that offered for sale securities in transactions related to the spin-off, subject to exceptions for certain information for which Hilton Parent retained liability; and

 

except as otherwise provided in the Distribution Agreement or any ancillary agreement, we retained responsibility for any costs or expenses incurred by us following the distribution in connection with the transactions contemplated by the Distribution Agreement, including costs and expenses relating to legal counsel, financial advisors and accounting advisory work related to the distribution.

In addition, notwithstanding the allocation described above, we, HGV and Hilton have agreed that losses related to certain contingent liabilities (and related costs and expenses), which generally are not specifically attributable to any of the separated real estate business, the timeshare business or the retained business of Hilton (“Shared Contingent Liabilities”), will be apportioned among the parties according to fixed percentages of 65%, 26% and 9% for each of Hilton, us and HGV, respectively. Examples of Shared Contingent Liabilities may include uninsured losses arising from actions (including derivative actions) against current or former directors or officers of Hilton in respect of acts or omissions occurring prior to the distribution date, or against current or former directors or officers of any of Hilton, HGV or us, arising out of, in connection with, or otherwise relating to, the spin-offs and the distribution, subject to certain exceptions described in the Distribution Agreement. In addition, costs and expenses of, and indemnification obligations to, third party professional advisors arising out of the foregoing actions may also be subject to these provisions. Subject to certain limitations and exceptions, Hilton shall generally be vested with the exclusive management and control of all matters pertaining to any such Shared Contingent Liabilities, including the prosecution of any claim and the conduct of any defense.

The Distribution Agreement also provides for cross-indemnities that, except as otherwise provided in the Distribution Agreement, are principally designed to place financial responsibility for the obligations and liabilities of each business with the appropriate company.

Tax Matters Agreement

We entered into a tax matters agreement (“Tax Matters Agreement”) with Hilton Parent, HGV Parent and Hilton Domestic Operating Company that governs the respective rights, responsibilities and obligations of us, Hilton Parent and HGV Parent after the spin-off with respect to tax liabilities and benefits, tax attributes, tax contests and other tax sharing regarding U.S. federal, state, local and foreign income taxes, other tax matters and related tax returns. Although binding between the parties, the Tax Matters Agreement is not binding on the IRS. We and HGV Parent have joint and several liability with Hilton Parent to the IRS for the consolidated U.S. federal income taxes of the Hilton consolidated group relating to the taxable periods in which we were part of that group. The Tax Matters Agreement specifies the portion, if any, of this tax liability for which we bear responsibility, and each party has agreed to indemnify the other against any amounts for which they are not responsible. The Tax Matters Agreement also provides special rules for allocating tax liabilities in the event that the spin-off is not tax-free. In general, under the Tax Matters Agreement, each party is responsible for any taxes imposed on Hilton that arise from the failure of the spin-off and certain related transactions to qualify as a tax-free transaction for U.S. federal income tax purposes under Sections 355 and 368(a)(1)(D) of the Code, as applicable, and certain

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other relevant provisions of the Code, to the extent that the failure to qualify is attributable to actions taken by such party (or with respect to such party’s stock). The parties share responsibility in accordance with sharing percentages for any such taxes imposed on Hilton that are not attributable to actions taken by a particular party.

The Tax Matters Agreement also provides for cross-indemnities with respect to tax matters that, except as otherwise provided in the Tax Matters Agreement, are principally designed to place financial responsibility for the tax-related obligations and liabilities of each business with the appropriate company.

Ground Leases

The following table summarizes the remaining primary term, renewal rights and purchase rights as of February 27, 2020, associated with land underlying our hotels and meeting facilities that we lease from third parties:

 

Property

 

Rooms

 

 

Current Lease Term Expiration

 

Renewal Rights / Purchase Rights

Leases of U.S. Properties (Excluding Properties Leased by Joint Ventures)

Embassy Suites Phoenix Airport

 

 

182

 

 

November 30, 2021

 

1 x 10 years

Portfolio of Five Hotels(1)

 

 

2,053

 

 

December 31, 2025

 

2 x 5 years(2)

Embassy Suites Austin Downtown South Congress

 

 

262

 

 

February 28, 2029

 

1 x 10 years(3)

Hilton Oakland Airport

 

 

360

 

 

January 19, 2034

 

None

Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista

 

 

814

 

 

January 31, 2034

 

1 x 25 years

Hilton Boston Logan Airport

 

 

604

 

 

September 30, 2044

 

2 x 20 years

Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center

 

 

396

 

 

December 31, 2046

 

Purchase Rights(4)

Renewal Rights

2 x 10 years;

1 x 5 years

Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina

 

 

438

 

 

January 31, 2056

 

None

Embassy Suites Kansas City Plaza

 

 

266

 

 

January 30, 2076(5)

 

Renewal Rights(5)

2 x 25 years

JW Marriott San Francisco Union Square

 

 

344

 

 

January 14, 2083

 

None

Leases of U.S. Properties by Joint Ventures

Embassy Suites Secaucus Meadowlands

 

 

261

 

 

October 31, 2021

 

1 x 10 years

Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines

 

 

394

 

 

June 30, 2067

 

1 x 10 years;

1 x 20 years(6)

Hilton San Diego Bayfront

 

 

1,190

 

 

December 31, 2071

 

None

 

(1)

Reflects the terms of a master lease agreement pursuant to which we lease the following five hotels: the Hilton Salt Lake City Center; the DoubleTree Hotel Seattle Airport; the DoubleTree Hotel San Diego—Mission Valley; the DoubleTree Hotel Sonoma Wine Country; and the DoubleTree Hotel Durango.

(2)

The renewal option may be exercised for less than all 5 of the hotels. Minimum rent is reduced if the renewal option is exercised for less than all of the 5 hotels.

(3)

The term of this renewal option exceeds the expiration of the underlying master ground lease in 2031. No extension rights are available, and it is unlikely that the landlord under the master ground lease will grant a term past 2031.

(4) 

Tenant has a right of first offer with respect to the property.

(5) 

Lease expires on January 30, 2026; however, the renewal rights are included in the current lease term expiration as the landlord has the option to renew the lease.

(6)

Renewal rights are dependent on the amount of capital expenditures invested in the hotel during the term.

We (or certain joint ventures in which we own an interest) are also party to certain leases for facilities related to certain hotels owned by us (or such joint ventures).  

Competition

The lodging industry is highly competitive. Our hotels compete with other hotels for guests on the basis of several factors, including the attractiveness of the facility, location, level of service, quality of accommodations, amenities, food and beverage options and outlets, public and meeting spaces and other guest services, consistency of service, room rate, brand reputation and the ability to earn and redeem loyalty program points through a global system. Competition is often specific to the individual markets in which our hotels are located and includes competition from existing and new hotels operated under brands primarily in the upper upscale chain scale segments. Increased competition could have a material adverse effect on the occupancy rate, average daily room rate and

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RevPAR of our hotels or may require us to make capital improvements that we otherwise would not have to make, which may result in decreases in our profitability. We believe our hotels enjoy certain competitive advantages as a result of being flagged with globally recognized brands, including access to centralized reservation systems and national advertising, marketing and promotional services, strong hotel management expertise and guest loyalty programs.

Our principal competitors include hotel operating companies, ownership companies (including other lodging REITs) and national and international hotel brands. We face increased competition from providers of less expensive accommodations, such as select-service hotels or independently managed hotels, during periods of economic downturn when leisure and business travelers become more sensitive to room rates. Increasingly, we also face competition from peer-to-peer inventory sources that allow travelers to stay at homes and apartments booked from owners, thereby providing an alternative to hotel rooms. We face competition for the acquisition of hotels from other REITs, private equity investors, institutional pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and numerous local, regional and national owners, including franchisors, in each of our markets. Some of these entities may have substantially greater financial resources than we do and may be able and willing to accept more risk than we believe we can prudently manage. During the recovery phase of the lodging cycle, competition among potential buyers may increase the bargaining power of potential sellers, which may reduce the number of suitable investment opportunities available to us or increase pricing. Similarly, during times when we seek to sell hotels, competition from other sellers may increase the bargaining power of the potential property buyers.

Seasonality

The lodging industry is seasonal in nature, which can be expected to cause fluctuations in our hotel rooms revenues, occupancy levels, room rates, operating expenses and cash flows. The periods during which our hotels experience higher or lower levels of demand vary from property to property, depending principally upon location, type of property and competitive mix within the specific location.

Cyclicality

The lodging industry is cyclical and demand generally follows, on a lagged basis, key macroeconomic indicators. There is a history of increases and decreases in demand for hotel rooms, in occupancy levels and in room rates realized by owners of hotels through economic cycles. Variability of results through some of the cycles in the past has been more severe due to changes in the supply of hotel rooms in given markets or in given segments of hotels. The combination of changes in economic conditions and in the supply of hotel rooms can result in significant volatility in results for owners of hotel properties. As a result, in a negative economic environment the rate of decline in earnings can be higher than the rate of decline in revenues.

Government Regulations

Our business is subject to various federal and state laws and regulations (in the U.S. and Puerto Rico). In particular, we are subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Under the ADA, all public accommodations are required to meet certain U.S. federal requirements related to access and use by disabled persons. These regulations apply to accommodations first occupied after January 26, 1993. Public accommodations built before January 26, 1993 are required to remove architectural barriers to disabled access where such removal is “readily achievable.” The regulations also mandate certain operational requirements that hotel operators must observe. The failure of a property to comply with the ADA could result in injunctive relief, fines, an award of damages to private litigants or mandated capital expenditures to remedy such noncompliance. Any imposition of injunctive relief, fines, damage awards or capital expenditures could result in reputational harm or otherwise materially and negatively affect our performance and results of operations.

In addition, a number of states regulate the activities of hospitality properties and restaurants, including safety and health standards, as well as the sale of liquor at such properties, by requiring licensing, registration, disclosure statements and compliance with specific standards of conduct. As an operator of the Select Hotels we are also subject to laws governing our relationship with employees, including minimum wage requirements, overtime, working conditions and work permit requirements. We are also subject to privacy and data security laws. Compliance with, or changes in, these laws could reduce the revenue and profitability of our properties and could otherwise adversely affect our operations.

Environmental Matters

We are subject to certain requirements and potential liabilities under various federal, state and local environmental, health and safety laws and regulations (in the U.S. and Puerto Rico) and incur costs in complying with such requirements. These laws and regulations govern our operations including any associated air emissions; the use, storage and disposal of hazardous and toxic substances and petroleum projects; and wastewater disposal. In addition, as a current and former owner of property, we could be

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subject to investigation and remediation liabilities that could arise under local, state and federal environmental laws, as well as personal injury, property damage, fines or other claims by third parties associated with environmental compliance or the presence of contamination. In addition to our hotel accommodations, we operate certain laundry facilities. We use and store hazardous and toxic substances, such as cleaning materials, pool chemicals, heating oil and fuel for back-up generators at some of our facilities, and we generate certain wastes in connection with our operations. Some of our properties include older buildings, and some may have, or may historically have had impacts from current or historical site operations including dry-cleaning facilities, gasoline and auto service stations, underground storage tanks for heating oil and back-up generators, and other operations that may have caused environmental contamination. We have from time to time been responsible for investigating and remediating contamination at some of our facilities, such as contamination from leaking underground storage tanks or as a result of current or historical dry-cleaning operations, and we could be held responsible for any contamination resulting from the disposal of wastes that we generate, including at locations where such wastes have been sent for treatment or disposal, without regard to whether we complied with environmental laws in sending our wastes to such treatment or disposal sites. In some cases, we may be entitled to indemnification, but there can be no assurance that we would be able to recover all or any costs we incur in addressing such problems. From time to time, we may also be required to manage, abate, remove or contain mold, lead, asbestos-containing materials, radon gas or other hazardous conditions found in or on our properties. We have implemented an on-going operations and maintenance plan that seeks to identify and remediate these conditions as appropriate. Although we have incurred, and expect that we will continue to incur, costs relating to the investigation, identification, management, and remediation of hazardous materials or petroleum products known or discovered to exist at our properties, as well as costs of complying with various local, state and federal environmental, health and safety laws, those costs have not had, and are not expected to have, a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations or cash flow.

REIT Qualification

We are treated as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and we believe we have been organized and operated, and expect to continue to be organized and operated, in a manner to qualify as a REIT. To qualify as a REIT, we must satisfy requirements related to, among other things, the real estate qualification of sources of our income, the real estate composition and values of our assets, the amounts we distribute to our stockholders annually and the diversity of ownership of our stock. To the extent we continue to remain qualified as a REIT, we generally will not be subject to U.S. federal income tax on taxable income generated by our REIT activities that we distribute annually to our stockholders. To comply with REIT requirements, we may need to forego otherwise attractive opportunities and limit our expansion opportunities and the manner in which we conduct our operations. Refer to “Risk Factors—Risks Related to our REIT Status and Certain Other Tax Items.”

Insurance

We maintain insurance coverage for general liability, property, including business interruption, terrorism, and other risks with respect to our business for all of our hotels. We also maintain workers’ compensation insurance for our corporate employees and employees at our Select Hotels and commercial laundry facilities, while our managers maintain workers’ compensation insurance for their employees at our managed hotels. Most of our insurance policies are written with self-insured retentions or deductibles that are common in the insurance market for similar risks. These policies provide coverage for claim amounts that exceed our self-insured retentions or deductibles. Our insurance provides coverage related to any claims or losses arising out of the design, development and operation of our hotels.

Employees

As of December 31, 2019, we had 488 employees, including 95 corporate employees, 174 employees of the Select Hotels, and 219 employees of our commercial laundry operations. Our hotel managers are generally responsible for hiring and maintaining the labor force at each of our hotels, other than the Select Hotels. Although we generally do not manage employees at our hotels (other than the Select Hotels), we still are subject to many of the costs and risks generally associated with the hotel labor force, particularly those hotels with unionized labor. We believe relations are positive between our third-party hotel managers, and their employees. For a discussion of these relationships, refer to “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business and Industry—We are subject to risks associated with the employment of hotel personnel, particularly with hotels that employ unionized labor, which could increase our operating costs, reduce flexibility of our hotel managers to adjust the size of the workforce at our hotels and could materially and adversely affect our revenues and profitability.”

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Corporate Information

Our principal executive offices are currently located at 1775 Tysons Boulevard, 7th Floor, Tysons, Virginia 22102. Our telephone number is (571) 302-5757. Our website is located at www.pkhotelsandresorts.com. The information that is found on or accessible through our website is not incorporated into, and does not form a part of, this Annual Report on Form 10-K or any other report or document that we file with or furnish to the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). We have included our website address in this Annual Report on Form 10-K as an inactive textual reference and do not intend it to be an active link to our website.

We make available on our website, free of charge, our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC. We also make our Code of Conduct, and any amendments or waivers thereto, for our directors, officers and employees available on our website on the Corporate Governance – Governance Documents page under the Investors section of our website.

Availability of Reports

The SEC maintains a website (http://www.sec.gov) that contains reports, proxy statements, information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC.  

 

Item 1A. Risk Factors.

Owning our common stock involves a number of significant risks. You should consider carefully the following risk factors. If any of the following risks, as well as additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial, occur, our business, liquidity, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. If this were to happen, the market price of our common stock could decline significantly, and you could lose all or a part of the value of your ownership in our common stock. In addition, the statements in the following risk factors include forward-looking statements. See “Forward-Looking Statements.”

Risks Related to Our Business

We face various risks posed by our acquisition, redevelopment, repositioning, renovation and re-branding activities, as well as our disposition activities.

A key element of our business strategy is identifying and consummating acquisitions of additional hotels and portfolios. On September 18, 2019, we completed the Merger with Chesapeake, which added 18 hotels to our portfolio across several U.S. markets (2 of which were subsequently sold in December 2019). We can provide no assurances that we will be successful in identifying attractive hotels in the future or that, once identified, we will be successful in consummating future acquisitions. We face significant competition for attractive investment opportunities from other well-capitalized investors, some of which have greater financial resources and a greater access to debt and equity capital to acquire hotels than we do. This competition increases as investments in real estate become increasingly attractive relative to other forms of investment. As a result of such competition, we may be unable to acquire certain hotels or portfolios that we deem attractive or the purchase price may be significantly elevated or other terms may be substantially more onerous. In addition, we expect to finance future acquisitions through a combination of retained cash flows, borrowings and offerings of equity and debt securities, which may not be available on advantageous terms, or at all. Any delay or failure on our part to identify, negotiate, finance on favorable terms, consummate and integrate such acquisitions could materially impede our growth.

In addition, newly acquired, redeveloped, renovated, repositioned or re-branded hotels may fail to perform as expected and the costs necessary to bring such hotels up to brand standards may exceed our expectations, which may result in the hotels’ failures to achieve projected returns. Likewise, we may not receive the expected benefit from the Merger, including the elimination of duplicative costs associated with supporting a public company platform.

In particular, these activities could pose the following risks to our ongoing operations:

 

we may abandon such activities and may be unable to recover expenses already incurred in connection with exploring such opportunities;

 

acquired, redeveloped, renovated or re-branded hotels may not initially be accretive to our results, and we and the third-party hotel managers may not successfully manage newly acquired, renovated, redeveloped, repositioned or re-branded hotels to meet our expectations;

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we may be unable to quickly, effectively and efficiently integrate new acquisitions, particularly acquisitions of portfolios of hotels, into our existing operations;

 

our redevelopment, repositioning, renovation or re-branding activities may not be completed on schedule, which could result in increased debt service and other costs and lower revenues, and defects in design or construction may result in delays and additional costs to remedy the defect or require a portion of a property to be closed during the period required to rectify the defect;

 

we may not be able to meet the loan covenants in any financing obtained to fund the new development, creating default risks;

 

we may issue shares of stock or other equity interests in connection with such acquisitions that could dilute the interests of our existing stockholders; and

 

we may assume various contingent liabilities in connection with such transactions, and we may not be able to recover amounts with respect to losses due to breaches by the sellers of representations or warranties or due to limits on indemnification.

We may also divest certain properties or assets, and any such divestments may yield lower than expected returns or otherwise fail to achieve the benefits we expect. For instance, we continue to explore sales of certain of our non-core hotels, and there can be no assurances that we will be able to recover the current carrying amount of these investments. In some circumstances, sales of properties or other assets may result in losses. Upon sales of properties or assets, we may become subject to contractual indemnity obligations, incur unusual or extraordinary distribution requirements or material tax liabilities or, as a result of required debt repayment, face a shortage of liquidity. In addition, we may not be able to reinvest the proceeds from any sales in new hotels at attractive rates of return, which may also impact our future operating results. Finally, any acquisitions, investments or dispositions could have costs or liabilities that exceed our expectations or demand significant attention from management that would otherwise be available for business operations, which could harm our business. In particular, the additional complexities of increasing the number of third-party operators relied upon and brands represented in our portfolio following the Merger will require additional time and attention of management. The occurrence of any of the foregoing events, among others, could materially and adversely affect our results of operations and profitability as well as limit or slow our future growth.

There are inherent risks with investments in real estate, including the relative illiquidity of such investments.

Investments in real estate are subject to varying degrees of risk. For example, an investment in real estate cannot generally be quickly sold, and we cannot predict whether we will be able to sell any hotel we desire to for the price or on the terms set by us or acceptable to us, or the length of time needed to find a willing buyer and to close the sale of the hotel. Moreover, the Code imposes restrictions on a REIT’s ability to dispose of properties that are not applicable to other types of real estate companies. In particular, the tax laws applicable to REITs require that we hold our hotels for use in a trade or business of generating rents or for investment, rather than hold primarily for sale in the ordinary course of business, all of which may cause us to forego or defer sales of hotels that otherwise would be in our best interests. Therefore, we may not be able to adjust the composition of our portfolio promptly in response to changing economic, financial and investment conditions or dispose of assets at opportune times or on favorable terms, which may adversely affect our cash flows and our ability to make distributions to stockholders.

 

In addition, our ability to dispose of some of our hotels could be constrained by their tax attributes. Many of our hotels, including related ancillary personal property, may have low tax bases. If we dispose of these hotels in taxable transactions, we may be required to pay tax on the sale and will be required to distribute the after-tax gain to our stockholders under the requirements of the Code applicable to REITs, either of which, in turn, would impact our cash flow. To dispose of low basis hotels efficiently, we may from time to time use “like-kind exchanges”, which is only applicable for non-recognition of taxable gain related to real property, and can be difficult to consummate and result in the hotel for which the disposed assets are exchanged inheriting their low tax bases and other tax attributes, and could result in taxable gain and a shareholder distribution requirement related to the non-real property associated with the hotel sale.

We are subject to risks associated with the concentration of our portfolio in the Hilton family of brands. Any deterioration in the quality or reputation of the Hilton brands, including changes to the Hilton Honors guest loyalty program, could have an adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial condition or results of operations.

A majority of our properties currently utilize brands owned by Hilton and participate in the Hilton Honors guest loyalty and rewards program. As a result, our ability to attract and retain guests depends, in part, on the public recognition of the Hilton brands and their associated reputation. If the Hilton brands become obsolete or consumers view them as unfashionable or lacking in consistency and quality, we may be unable to attract guests to our hotels. In addition, any adverse developments in Hilton’s business and affairs or financial condition could impair its ability to manage our properties and could have a material adverse effect on us. For example, the occurrence of a major data breach or similar event associated with Hilton could impair Hilton’s ability to manage our properties and could have a material adverse effect on us.

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Changes in ownership or management practices, the occurrence of accidents or injuries, force majeure events, crime, individual guest notoriety or similar events at our hotels or other properties managed, owned or leased by Hilton can harm our reputation, create adverse publicity and cause a loss of consumer confidence in our business. Because of the global nature of the Hilton brands and the broad expanse of its business and hotel locations, events occurring in one location could negatively affect the reputation and operations of otherwise successful individual locations, including properties in our portfolio. We also could face legal claims related to negative events, along with resulting adverse publicity. If the perceived quality of the Hilton brand declines, or if Hilton’s reputation is damaged, our business, financial condition or results of operations could be adversely affected.

Hilton Honors guest loyalty program allows program members to accumulate points based on eligible stays and hotel charges and redeem the points for a range of benefits including free rooms and other items of value. The program is an important aspect of our business and of the affiliation value of a majority of our hotels. In addition to the accumulation of points for future hotel stays at the Hilton family of brands, Hilton Honors arranges with third-party service providers, such as airlines and rail companies, to exchange monetary value represented by points for program awards. Currently, the program benefits are not taxed as income to members. We are not the owner of the Hilton Honors loyalty program and changes to the program or our access to it could negatively impact our business.  If the program deteriorates or materially changes in an adverse manner, or becomes subject to taxation such that a material number of Hilton Honors members choose to no longer participate in the program, our business, financial condition or results of operations could be materially adversely affected.

Contractual and other disagreements with or involving our current and future third-party hotel managers and franchisors could make us liable to them or result in litigation costs or other expenses.

Our management and franchise agreements require us and our managers to comply with operational and performance conditions that are subject to interpretation and could result in disagreements, and we expect this will be true of any management and franchise agreements that we enter into with future third-party hotel managers or franchisors. At any given time, we may be in dispute with one or more third-party hotel managers or franchisors. Any such dispute could be very expensive for us, even if the outcome is ultimately in our favor. We cannot predict the outcome of any arbitration or litigation, the effect of any negative judgment against us or the amount of any settlement that we may enter into with any third-party. In the event we terminate a management or franchise agreement early and the hotel manager or franchisor considers such termination to have been wrongful, they may seek damages. Additionally, we may be required to indemnify our third-party hotel managers and franchisors against disputes with third parties, pursuant to our management and franchise agreements. An adverse result in any of these proceedings could materially and adversely affect our revenues and profitability.

We are dependent on the performance of our managers and could be materially and adversely affected if our managers do not properly manage our hotels or otherwise act in our best interests or if we are unable to maintain a good relationship with our third-party hotel managers.

In order for us to continue to qualify as a REIT, independent third parties must operate our hotels. Except for the Select Hotels, we lease substantially all of our hotels to our TRS lessees. Our TRS lessees, in turn, have entered into management agreements with third-party managers to operate our hotels. We could be materially and adversely affected if any third-party hotel manager fails to provide quality services and amenities, fails to maintain a quality brand name or otherwise fails to manage our hotels in our best interest, and can be financially responsible for the actions and inactions of our third-party hotel managers pursuant to our management agreements. In addition, our third-party hotel managers manage, and in some cases may own or lease, or may have invested in or may have provided credit support or operating guarantees to hotels that compete with our hotels, any of which could result in conflicts of interest. As a result, third-party managers may make decisions regarding competing lodging facilities that are not in our best interests.

The success of our properties largely depends on our ability to establish and maintain good relationships with our hotel managers and other third-party hotel managers and franchisors that we may engage in the future. If we are unable to maintain good relationships with our third-party hotel managers and franchisors, we may be unable to renew existing management or franchise agreements or expand relationships with them. Additionally, opportunities for developing new relationships with additional third-party managers or franchisors may be adversely affected. This, in turn, could have an adverse effect on our results of operations and our ability to execute our growth strategy.

In the event that we terminate any of our management agreements, we can provide no assurances that we could find a replacement hotel manager or that any replacement hotel manager will be successful in operating our hotels. If any of the foregoing were to occur, it could materially and adversely affect us.

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Cyber threats and the risk of data breaches or disruptions of our hotel managers’ or our own information technology systems could materially adversely affect our business.

Our hotel managers are dependent on information technology networks and systems, including the internet, to access, process, transmit and store proprietary and customer information, and we expect that other hotel managers that we contract with in the future also will be dependent on such networks. These complex networks include reservation systems, vacation exchange systems, hotel management systems, customer databases, call centers, administrative systems, and third-party vendor systems. These systems require the collection, retention and transfer of large volumes of personally identifiable information of hotel guests, including credit card numbers.

These information networks and systems can be vulnerable to threats such as system, network or internet failures; computer hacking or business disruption, including through network- and email-based attacks; cyber-terrorism; viruses, worms or other malicious software programs; and employee error, negligence or fraud. The risk of a security breach or disruption, particularly through cyber-attack or cyber intrusion, including by computer hackers, nation-state affiliated actors and cyber terrorists, has generally increased as the number, intensity and sophistication of attempted attacks and intrusions from around the world have increased. We rely on our hotel managers to protect proprietary and customer information from these threats. Any compromise of our own network or hotel managers’ networks could result in a disruption to operations, such as disruptions in fulfilling guest reservations, delayed bookings or sales, or lost guest reservations. Any of these events could, in turn, result in disruption of the operations of our hotels, in increased costs (e.g., related to response, investigation, and notification) or in potential litigation and liability. In addition, public disclosure, or loss of customer or proprietary information could result in damage to the hotel manager’s reputation, a loss of confidence among hotel guests, reputational harm for our hotels and potential litigation, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

In addition to the information technologies and systems our hotel managers use to operate our hotels, we have our own corporate technologies and systems that are used to access, store, transmit, and manage or support a variety of business processes. We may be required to expend significant attention and financial resources to protect these technologies and systems against physical or cybersecurity incidents and even then our security measures may subsequently be deemed to have been inadequate by regulators or courts given the lack of prescriptive measures in data security and cybersecurity laws. There can be no assurance that the security measures we have taken to protect the contents of these systems will prevent failures, inadequacies or interruptions in system services or that system security will not be breached through system or user error, physical or electronic break-ins, computer viruses, and attacks by hackers (whether through unauthorized access, network- or email-based attacks, or otherwise). Even security measures that are appropriate, reasonable, and/or in accordance with applicable legal requirements may not be able to protect the information we maintain. Disruptions in service, system shutdowns and security breaches in the information technologies and systems we use, including unauthorized disclosure of confidential information, could have a material adverse effect on our business, our financial reporting and compliance, and could subject us to or result in liability claims, monetary losses or regulatory penalties which could be significant. We currently have a policy that covers some aspects of a loss due to a cyber-attack, but costs are variable based on the scale of such an attack.

Restrictive covenants in certain of our hotel management and franchise agreements contain provisions limiting or restricting the sale of our hotels, which could materially and adversely affect our profitability.

Many of our hotel management and franchise agreements generally contain restrictive covenants that limit or restrict our ability to sell a hotel free of the management or franchise encumbrance other than to permitted transferees. Generally, we may not agree to sell, lease or otherwise transfer particular hotels unless the transferee executes a new agreement or assumes the related hotel management and franchise agreements. As a result, we may be prohibited from taking actions that would otherwise be in our and our stockholders’ best interests. In addition, as noted above, our third-party managers may have a conflict that results in one of our third-party managers declining to approve a transfer that would be in our and our stockholders’ best interests.

Costs associated with, or failure to maintain, brand operating standards may materially and adversely affect our results of operations and profitability.

The terms of our franchise agreements and management agreements generally require us to meet specified operating standards and other terms and conditions and compliance with such standards may be costly. Failure by us, or any hotel management company that we engage, to maintain these standards or other terms and conditions could result in a franchise license being canceled or the franchisor requiring us to undertake a costly property improvement program. If a franchise license is terminated due to our failure to make required improvements or to otherwise comply with its terms, we also may be liable to the franchisor for a termination payment. If the funds required to maintain brand operating standards are significant, or if a franchise license is terminated, it could materially and adversely affect our results of operations and profitability.

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If we were to lose a brand license, the underlying value of a particular hotel could decline significantly from the loss of associated name recognition, marketing support, participation in guest loyalty programs and the centralized reservation system provided by the franchisor or brand manager, which could require us to recognize an impairment on the hotel. Furthermore, the loss of a franchise license at a particular hotel could harm our relationship with the franchisor or brand manager, which could impede our ability to operate other hotels under the same brand, limit our ability to obtain new franchise licenses or brand management agreements from the franchisor or brand in the future on favorable terms, or at all, and cause us to incur significant costs to obtain a new franchise license or brand management agreement for the particular hotel. Accordingly, if we lose one or more franchise licenses or brand management agreements, it could materially and adversely affect our results of operations and profitability as well as limit or slow our future growth.

Our efforts to develop, redevelop or renovate our properties could be delayed or become more expensive, which could reduce revenues or impair our ability to compete effectively.

If not maintained, the condition of certain of our properties could negatively affect our ability to attract guests or result in higher operating and capital costs. These factors could reduce revenues or profits from these properties. There can be no assurance that our planned replacements and repairs will occur, or even if completed, will result in improved performance. In addition, these efforts are subject to a number of risks, including:

 

construction delays or cost overruns (including labor and materials);

 

obtaining zoning, occupancy and other required permits or authorizations;

 

changes in economic conditions that may result in weakened or lack of demand for improvements that we make or negative project returns;

 

governmental restrictions on the size or kind of development;

 

volatility in the debt and capital markets that may limit our ability to raise capital for projects or improvements;

 

lack of availability of rooms or meeting spaces for revenue-generating activities during construction, modernization or renovation projects;

 

force majeure events, including earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods or tsunamis; and

 

design defects that could increase costs.

If our properties are not updated to meet guest preferences, if properties under development or renovation are delayed in opening as scheduled, or if renovation investments adversely affect or fail to improve performance, our operations and financial results could be negatively affected.

Our hotels are geographically concentrated in a limited number of markets and, accordingly, we could be disproportionately harmed by adverse changes to these markets, natural disasters or threat of a terrorist attack.

A significant portion of our room count is located in a concentrated number of markets that exposes us to greater risk to local economic or business conditions, changes in hotel supply in these markets, and other conditions than more geographically diversified hotel companies. As of December 31, 2019, hotels in New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, New Orleans, Florida and Hawaii represented approximately 70% of our room count, with our hotels in Florida, San Francisco and Hawaii alone each representing greater than 10% of our room count. An economic downturn, an increase in hotel supply in these markets, a force majeure event, a natural disaster (such as hurricanes, tropical storms, earthquakes, volcano eruption and fires), a terrorist attack or similar disaster in any one of these markets likely would cause a decline in the hotel market and adversely affect occupancy rates, the financial performance of our hotels in these markets and our overall results of operations.

The threat of terrorism also may negatively impact hotel occupancy and average daily rate, due to resulting disruptions in business and leisure travel patterns and concerns about travel safety. Hotels in major metropolitan areas, such as the gateway cities that represent our target markets, may be particularly adversely affected due to concerns about travel safety. The possibility of future attacks may hamper business and leisure travel patterns and, accordingly, the performance of our business and our operations.

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If the insurance that we carry does not sufficiently cover damage or other potential losses or liabilities to third parties involving our properties, our profits could be reduced.

We operate in certain areas where the risk of natural disaster or other catastrophic losses vary, and the incidence of such an event could cause substantial damage to our properties or the surrounding area.

 

We carry insurance from solvent insurance carriers that we believe is adequate for foreseeable first- and third-party losses and with terms and conditions that are reasonable and customary. Nevertheless, market forces beyond our control could limit the scope of the insurance coverage that we can obtain or may otherwise restrict our ability to buy insurance coverage at reasonable rates. In the event of a substantial loss, the insurance coverage that we carry may not be sufficient to pay the full value of our financial obligations, our liabilities or the replacement cost of any lost investment or property. For example, in 2017, Hurricane Irma forced us to close two of our hotels in Key West, Florida for several weeks, and Hurricane Maria caused significant damage to the Caribe Hilton in Puerto Rico, which was closed throughout 2018 and reopened in May 2019. To date, we have received $191 million of insurance proceeds for both Key West hotels and the Caribe Hilton. In December 2019, claims related to the Hilton Caribe were fully settled, however, the amount of expected insurance proceeds related to our Key West hotels could change as more information becomes available about the nature and extent of damage.

Additionally, because certain types of losses are uncertain, they may be uninsurable or prohibitively expensive. There are also other risks that may fall outside the general coverage terms and limits of our policies. In some cases, these factors could result in certain losses being completely uninsured. As a result, we could lose some or all of the capital we have invested in a property, as well as the anticipated future revenues, profits, management fees or franchise fees from the property.

Our properties may not be permitted to be rebuilt if destroyed.

Certain of our properties may qualify as legally permissible nonconforming uses and improvements, including certain of our iconic and most profitable properties. If a substantial portion of any such properties were to be destroyed by fire or other casualty, we might not be permitted to rebuild that property as it now exists or at all, regardless of the availability of insurance proceeds. Any loss of this nature, whether insured or not, could materially adversely affect our results of operations and prospects.

We have investments in joint venture projects, which limit our ability to manage third-party risks associated with these projects.

In certain cases, we are minority participants and do not control the decisions of the joint ventures in which we are involved. Therefore, joint venture investments may involve risks such as the possibility that a co-venturer in an investment might become bankrupt, be unable to meet its capital contribution obligations, have economic or business interests or goals that are inconsistent with our business interests or goals or take actions that are contrary to our instructions or to applicable laws and regulations. In addition, we may be unable to take action without the approval of our joint venture partners, or our joint venture partners could take actions binding on the joint venture without our consent. Consequently, actions by a co-venturer or other third-party could expose us to claims for damages, financial penalties and reputational harm, any of which could adversely affect our business and operations. In addition, we may agree to guarantee indebtedness incurred by a joint venture or co-venturer or provide standard indemnifications to lenders for loss liability or damage occurring as a result of our actions or actions of the joint venture or other co-venturers. Such a guarantee or indemnity may be on a joint and several basis with a co-venturer, in which case we may be liable in the event that our co-venturer defaults on its guarantee obligation. The non-performance of a co-venturer’s obligations may cause losses to us in excess of the capital we initially may have invested or committed.

Preparing our financial statements requires us to have access to information regarding the results of operations, financial position and cash flows of our joint ventures. Any deficiencies in our joint ventures’ internal controls over financial reporting may affect our ability to report our financial results accurately or prevent or detect fraud. Such deficiencies also could result in restatements of, or other adjustments to, our previously reported or announced operating results, which could diminish investor confidence and reduce the market price for our shares. Additionally, if our joint ventures are unable to provide this information for any meaningful period or fail to meet expected deadlines, we may be unable to satisfy our financial reporting obligations or timely file our periodic reports.

Although our joint ventures may generate positive cash flow, in some cases they may be unable to distribute that cash to the joint venture partners. Additionally, in some cases our joint venture partners control distributions and may choose to leave capital in the joint venture rather than distribute it. Because our ability to generate liquidity from our joint ventures depends in part on their ability to distribute capital to us, our failure to receive distributions from our joint venture partners could reduce our cash flow return on these investments.

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We depend on external sources of capital for future growth. Therefore, any disruption to our ability to access capital at times and on terms reasonably acceptable to us may affect adversely our business and results of operations.

Ownership of hotels is a capital-intensive business that requires significant capital expenditures to acquire, operate, maintain and renovate properties. To continue to qualify as a REIT, we are required to distribute to our stockholders at least 90% of our REIT taxable income (determined without regard to the deduction for dividends paid and excluding any net capital gain), including taxable income recognized for U.S. federal income tax purposes but with regard to which we do not receive cash. As a result, we must finance our growth, fund debt repayments and fund these significant capital expenditures largely with external sources of capital. Our ability to access external capital could be hampered by a number of factors, many of which are outside of our control, including:

 

price volatility, dislocations and liquidity disruptions in the U.S. and global equity and credit markets;

 

changes in market perception of our growth potential, including downgrades by rating agencies;

 

decreases in our current and estimated future earnings;

 

decreases or fluctuations in the market price of our common stock;

 

increases in interest rates; and

 

the terms of our existing indebtedness.

Any of these factors, individually or in combination, could prevent us from being able to obtain the external capital we require on terms that are acceptable to us, or at all, which could have a material adverse effect on our ability to finance our future growth and our financial condition and results of operations. Potential consequences of disruptions in U.S. and global equity and credit markets and, as a result, an inability for us to access external capital at times, and on terms, reasonably acceptable to us could include:

 

a need to seek alternative sources of capital with less attractive terms, such as more restrictive covenants and shorter maturity;

 

adverse effects on our financial condition and liquidity, and our ability to meet our anticipated requirements for working capital, debt service and capital expenditures;

 

higher costs of capital;

 

an inability to enter into derivative contracts to hedge risks associated with changes in interest rates; or

 

an inability to execute on our acquisition strategy.

The loss of senior executives or key field personnel, such as general managers, could significantly harm our business.

Our ability to maintain our competitive position depends somewhat on the efforts and abilities of our senior executives. Finding suitable replacements for senior executives could be difficult. Losing the services of one or more of these senior executives could adversely affect strategic relationships, including relationships with hotel managers or franchisors, joint venture partners and vendors, and limit our ability to execute our business strategies.

We also rely on the general managers at each of our hotels to manage daily operations and oversee the efforts of employees. These general managers are trained professionals in the hospitality industry and have extensive experience in many markets worldwide. The failure by us, or any of our hotel managers to retain, train or successfully manage the general managers at our hotels could negatively affect our operations.

We are subject to risks associated with the employment of hotel personnel, particularly with hotels that employ unionized labor, which could increase our operating costs, reduce the flexibility of our hotel managers to adjust the size of the workforce at our hotels and could materially and adversely affect our revenues and profitability.

We have entered into management agreements with our hotel managers to operate each of our hotels, with the exception of the Select Hotels. The managers are generally responsible for hiring and maintaining the labor force at each of the hotels they manage. Although, with the exception of the Select Hotels, we generally do not directly employ or manage employees at our hotels, we are subject to many of the costs and risks generally associated with the hotel labor force. Increased labor costs due to factors like additional taxes or requirements to incur additional employee benefits costs may adversely impact our operating costs. Labor costs can be particularly challenging at those of our hotels with unionized labor, and additional hotels may be subject to new collective bargaining agreements in the future.

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From time to time, strikes, lockouts, public demonstrations or other negative actions and publicity may disrupt hotel operations at any of our hotels, negatively impact our reputation or the reputation of our brands, or harm relationships with the labor forces at our hotels. We also may incur increased legal costs and indirect labor costs as a result of contract disputes or other events. Additionally, hotels where our hotel managers have collective bargaining agreements with employees are more highly affected by labor force activities than others. The resolution of labor disputes or new or re-negotiated labor contracts could lead to increased labor costs, either by increases in wages or benefits or by changes in work rules that raise hotel operating costs. Furthermore, labor agreements may limit the ability of our hotel managers to reduce the size of hotel workforces during an economic downturn because collective bargaining agreements are negotiated between the hotel managers and labor unions. We do not have the ability to control the outcome of these negotiations. We are also subject to similar risks where we directly employ labor at our Select Hotels and hotel laundry business.

Our active management and operation of the Select Hotels and the commercial laundry business may expose us to potential liabilities beyond those traditionally associated with lodging REITs.

In addition to owning hotels and engaging hotel managers to operate our hotels, we also manage and operate the Select Hotels and, through a TRS, manage and operate the commercial laundry business. Managing and operating the Select Hotels and the commercial laundry business requires us to employ significantly more people than a REIT that does not operate businesses of such type and scale. In addition, managing and operating both a hotel business and a commercial laundry business exposes us to potential liabilities associated with the operation of those businesses. Such potential liabilities are not typically associated with lodging REITs and include potential liabilities for environmental violations, wage and hour violations, workplace injury and other employment violations. In the event that one or more of the potential liabilities associated with managing and operating a hotel and hotel laundry business materializes, such liabilities could damage our reputation, and could adversely affect our financial position and results of operations, possibly to a material degree.

We will not recognize any increase in the value of the land or improvements subject to our ground leases and may only receive a portion of compensation paid in any eminent domain proceeding with respect to the hotel. In addition, we could be materially and adversely affected if we are found to be in breach of a ground lease or are unable to renew a ground lease.

Unless we purchase a fee interest in the land and improvements subject to our ground leases or extend the terms of these leases before their expiration, we will lose our right to operate these properties and we will not have any economic interest in the land or improvements at the expiration of our ground leases; therefore, we generally will not share in any increase in value of the land or improvements beyond the term of a ground lease, notwithstanding our capital outlay to purchase our interest in the hotel or fund improvements thereon, and will lose our right to use the hotel. In addition, if we are found to be in breach of certain of our third-party ground leases, we could lose the right to use the applicable hotel. Furthermore, if a governmental authority seizes a hotel subject to a ground lease under its eminent domain power, we may only be entitled to a portion of any compensation awarded for the seizure.

Our ability to exercise any extension options relating to our ground leases is subject to the condition that we are not in default under the terms of the ground lease at the time that we exercise such options, and we can provide no assurances that we will be able to exercise any available options at such time. Furthermore, we can provide no assurances that we will be able to renew any ground lease upon its expiration. If we were to lose the right to use a hotel due to a breach or non-renewal of the ground lease, we would be unable to derive income from such hotel, which could adversely affect us.

Risks Related to Our Industry

We operate in a highly competitive industry.

The lodging industry is highly competitive. Our principal competitors are other owners and investors in upper upscale, full-service hotels, including other lodging REITs, as well as major hospitality chains with well-established and recognized brands. Our hotels face competition for individual guests, group reservations and conference business. We also compete against smaller hotel chains, independent and local hotel owners and operators. Increasingly, we also face competition from peer-to-peer inventory sources that allow travelers to stay at homes and apartments booked from owners, thereby providing an alternative to hotel rooms. We compete for these customers based primarily on brand name recognition and reputation, as well as location, room rates, property size and availability of rooms and conference space, quality of the accommodations, customer satisfaction, amenities and the ability to earn and redeem loyalty program awards. New hotels may be constructed, and these additions create new competitors, in some cases without corresponding increases in demand for hotel rooms. Our competitors may have greater commercial, financial and marketing resources and more efficient technology platforms, which could allow them to improve their properties and expand and improve their marketing efforts in ways that could affect our ability to compete for guests effectively and adversely affect our revenues and profitability as well as limit or slow our future growth.

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We are subject to the business, financial and operating risks inherent to the lodging industry, any of which could reduce our revenues, the value of our properties and our ability to make distributions and limit opportunities for growth.

Our business is subject to a number of business, financial and operating risks inherent to the lodging industry, including:

 

significant competition from other lodging businesses and hospitality providers in the markets in which we operate;

 

changes in operating costs, including energy, food, employee compensation and benefits and insurance;

 

increases in costs due to inflation or otherwise, including increases in our operating costs, that may not be fully offset by revenue increases in our business;

 

changes in taxes and governmental regulations that influence or set wages, prices, interest rates or construction and maintenance procedures and costs;

 

the costs and administrative burdens associated with complying with applicable laws and regulations;

 

the costs or desirability of complying with local practices and customs;

 

significant increases in cost for health care coverage for employees, including employees of our hotel managers, and potential government regulation with respect to health care coverage;

 

shortages of labor or labor disruptions;

 

the ability of third-party internet and other travel intermediaries to attract and retain customers;

 

the availability and cost of capital necessary to fund investments, capital expenditures and service debt obligations;

 

delays in or cancellations of planned or future development or refurbishment projects;

 

the quality of services provided by our third-party hotel managers;

 

the financial condition of our third-party hotel managers and franchisors, developers and joint venture partners;

 

relationships with our third-party hotel managers, developers and joint venture partners, including the risk that any third-party hotel managers or franchisors may terminate our management or franchise agreements and that joint venture partners may terminate joint venture agreements;

 

cyclical over-building in the hotel industry;

 

changes in desirability of geographic regions of the hotels in our portfolio, geographic concentration in our portfolio and shortages of desirable locations for development;

 

changes in the supply and demand for hotel services (including rooms, food and beverage and other products and services); and

 

decreases in the frequency of business travel that may result from alternatives to in-person meetings, including virtual meetings hosted online or over private teleconferencing networks.

Any of these factors could increase our costs or reduce our revenues, adversely impacting our ability to make distributions to our stockholders or otherwise affect our ability to maintain existing properties or develop new properties.

Macroeconomic and other factors beyond our control can adversely affect and reduce lodging demand.

Macroeconomic and other factors beyond our control can reduce demand for our products and services, including demand for rooms at our hotels. These factors include, but are not limited to:

 

changes in general economic conditions, including low consumer confidence, unemployment levels and depressed real estate prices resulting from the severity and duration of any downturn in the U.S. or global economy;

 

war, political conditions or uncertainty or civil unrest, violence or terrorist activities or threats and changes in economic conditions or heightened travel security measures instituted in response to these events;

 

decreased corporate or government travel-related budgets and spending, as well as cancellations, deferrals or renegotiations of group business such as industry conventions;

 

actual or threatened reductions in federal government spending and/or changes to the timing of government spending, and the resulting effects on travel patterns, as have occurred during recent federal government shutdowns;

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risks that proposed immigration policies could reduce international travel to the United States generally;

 

statements, actions, or interventions by governmental officials related to travel and corporate travel-related activities and the resulting negative public perception of such travel and activities;

 

the financial and general business condition of the airline, automotive and other transportation-related industries and its effect on travel, including decreased airline capacity and routes, as well as the price of crude oil and refined products;

 

conditions that negatively shape public perception of travel, or restrictions to travel, including travel-related accidents and outbreaks of pandemic or contagious diseases, such as Ebola, avian flu, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) or other similar viruses, H1N1 (swine flu), and the Zika virus;

 

cyber-attacks;

 

seasonal volatility;

 

climate change or availability of natural resources;

 

natural or manmade disasters, such as earthquakes, windstorms, tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes, typhoons, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, floods, drought, fires, oil spills and nuclear incidents;

 

changes in the desirability of particular locations or travel patterns of customers; and

 

organized labor activities, which could cause a diversion of business from hotels involved in labor negotiations and loss of business for our hotels generally as a result of certain labor tactics.

Any one or more of these factors can adversely affect, and from time to time have adversely affected, individual hotels, particular regions and our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The lodging industry is subject to seasonal volatility, which is expected to contribute to fluctuations in our financial condition and results of operations.

The lodging industry is seasonal in nature. The periods during which our properties experience higher revenues vary from property to property, depending principally upon location and the customer base served. This seasonality can be expected to cause periodic fluctuations in a hotel’s rooms revenues, occupancy levels, room rates and operating expenses. We can provide no assurances that our cash flows will be sufficient to offset any shortfalls that occur as a result of these fluctuations. Consequently, volatility in our financial performance resulting from the seasonality of the lodging industry could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

The growth of internet reservation channels could adversely affect our business and profitability.

A significant percentage of hotel rooms for individual guests are booked through internet travel intermediaries. Search engines and peer-to-peer inventory sources also provide online travel services that compete with our hotels. If bookings shift to higher cost distribution channels, including internet travel intermediaries and meeting procurement firms, it could materially impact our profits. Additionally, as intermediary bookings increase, these intermediaries may be able to obtain higher commissions, reduced room rates or other significant contract concessions from our brands and management companies. Moreover, hospitality intermediaries generally employ aggressive marketing strategies, including expending significant resources for online and television advertising campaigns to drive consumers to their websites. As a result, consumers may develop brand loyalties to the intermediaries’ offered brands, websites and reservations systems rather than those of the brands of hotels we contract with. If this happens, our business and profitability may be adversely affected. Internet travel intermediaries also have recently been subject to regulatory scrutiny. The outcome of this regulatory activity may affect the ability of brand managers to compete for direct bookings through their own internet channels.

In addition, although internet travel intermediaries have traditionally competed to attract individual consumers or “transient” business rather than group and convention business, in recent years they have expanded their business to include marketing to large group and convention business. If that growth continues, it could both divert group and convention business away from our hotels and also increase our cost of sales for group and convention business. Consolidation of internet travel intermediaries, and the entry of major internet companies into the internet travel bookings business, also could divert bookings away from our brand manager websites and increase our cost of sales.

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Governmental regulation may adversely affect the operation of our properties and our Company as a whole.

In many jurisdictions, the hotel industry is subject to extensive U.S. federal, state and local governmental regulations, including those relating to the service of alcoholic beverages, the preparation and sale of food and those relating to building and zoning requirements. We and our hotel managers are also subject to licensing and regulation by U.S. state and local departments relating to health, sanitation, fire and safety standards, and to laws governing our relationships with employees, including minimum wage requirements, overtime, working conditions status and citizenship requirements. We and our hotel managers may be required to expend funds to meet U.S. federal, state and local regulations in connection with the continued operation or remodeling of certain of our properties.

Additionally, the regulatory environment surrounding data protection, cybersecurity and privacy is also increasingly demanding. Our existing systems may be unable to satisfy changing regulatory requirements and employee and customer expectations, or may require significant additional investments or time to do so.

The failure to meet the requirements of applicable regulations and licensing requirements, or publicity resulting from actual or alleged failures, could have an adverse effect on our results of operations.

Certain laws and regulations may cause us to incur substantial costs or subject us to potential liabilities.

We are subject to certain compliance costs and potential liabilities under various U.S. federal, state and local environmental, health and safety laws and regulations. These laws and regulations govern our operations including associated air emissions; the use, storage and disposal of hazardous and toxic substances, and wastewater disposal. Our failure to comply with such laws, including any required permits or licenses, could result in substantial fines or possible revocation of our authority to conduct some of our operations.

In addition, various federal, state and local environmental laws impose liability on a current or former owner or operator of real property for investigation, removal or remediation of hazardous or toxic substances at our currently or formerly owned or leased real property, regardless of whether or not we knew of, or caused, the presence or release of such substances. From time to time, we may be required to remediate such substances or remove, abate or manage asbestos, mold, radon gas, lead or other hazardous conditions at our properties. The presence or release of such toxic or hazardous substances at our currently or formerly owned or leased properties could result in limitations on or interruptions to our operations or in third-party claims for personal injury, property or natural resource damages, business interruption or other losses, including liens in favor of the government for costs the government incurs in cleaning up contamination. Such claims and the need to investigate, remediate or otherwise address hazardous, toxic or unsafe conditions could adversely affect our operations, the value of any affected real property, or our ability to sell, lease or assign our rights in any such property, or could otherwise harm our business or reputation. In addition, we also may be liable for the costs of remediating contamination at off-site waste disposal facilities to which we have arranged for the disposal, transportation or treatment of hazardous substances without regard to whether we complied with environmental laws in doing so. Environmental, health and safety requirements have also become increasingly stringent, and our costs may increase as a result. New or revised laws and regulations or new interpretations of existing laws and regulations, such as those related to climate change, could affect the operation of our properties or result in significant additional expense and operating restrictions on us or our hotel managers.

In addition, failure of a property to comply with the ADA could result in injunctive relief, fines, an award of damages to private litigants or mandated capital expenditures to remedy such noncompliance. Any imposition of injunctive relief, fines, damage awards or capital expenditures could adversely impact our business or results of operations. If we fail to comply with the requirements of the ADA, we could be subject to fines, penalties, injunctive action, reputational harm and other business effects which could materially and negatively affect our performance and results of operations.

Terrorist attacks, military conflicts and the availability of terrorism insurance may adversely affect the lodging industry.

The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 underscore the possibility that large public facilities or economically important assets could become the target of terrorist attacks in the future. In particular, properties that are well-known or are located in concentrated business sectors in major cities where our hotels are located may be subject to the risk of terrorist attacks.

The occurrence or the possibility of terrorist attacks or military conflicts could:

 

cause damage to one or more of our properties that may not be fully covered by insurance to the value of the damages;

 

cause all or portions of affected properties to be shut down for prolonged periods, resulting in a loss of income;

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generally reduce travel to affected areas for tourism and business or adversely affect the willingness of customers to stay in or avail themselves of the services of the affected properties;

 

expose us to a risk of monetary claims arising out of death, injury or damage to property caused by any such attacks; and

 

result in higher costs for security and insurance premiums or diminish the availability of insurance coverage for losses related to terrorist attacks, particularly for properties in target areas, all of which could adversely affect our results.

The occurrence of a terrorist attack with respect to one of our properties could directly and materially adversely affect our results of operations. Furthermore, the loss of any of our well-known buildings could indirectly affect the value of the brands with which we are affiliated, which would in turn adversely affect our business prospects.

Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City and the Washington, D.C. area, Congress passed the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002, which established the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program (“Program”) to provide insurance capacity for terrorist acts. The Program originally was set to expire at the end of 2020 but was reauthorized, with some adjustments to its provisions, in December 2019 for seven years through December 31, 2027. We carry insurance from solvent insurance carriers to respond to both first-party and third-party liability losses related to terrorism. We purchase our first-party property damage and business interruption insurance from a stand-alone market in place of and to supplement insurance from government run pools. If there are changes to the Program that would negatively affect insurance carriers, premiums for terrorism insurance coverage will likely increase and/or the terms of such insurance may be materially amended to increase stated exclusions or to otherwise effectively decrease the scope of coverage available, perhaps to the point where it is effectively unavailable.

Risks Related to Our Indebtedness

Our indebtedness and other contractual obligations could adversely affect our financial condition, our ability to raise additional capital to fund our operations, our ability to operate our business, our ability to react to changes in the economy or our industry and our ability to pay our debts and could divert our cash flow from operations for debt payments.

Our outstanding debt and other contractual obligations could have important consequences, including:

 

requiring a substantial portion of cash flow from operations to be dedicated to debt service payments, thereby reducing our ability to use our cash flow to fund our operations, capital expenditures, distributions to stockholders and to pursue future business opportunities;

 

increasing our vulnerability to adverse economic, industry or competitive developments;

 

exposing us to increased interest expense, as our degree of leverage may cause the interest rates of any future indebtedness (whether fixed or floating rate interest) to be higher than they would be otherwise;

 

exposing us to the risk of increased interest rates because certain of our indebtedness is at variable rates of interest;

 

making it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations with respect to our indebtedness, and any failure to comply with the obligations of any of our debt instruments, including restrictive covenants, could result in an event of default that accelerates our obligation to repay indebtedness;

 

restricting us from making strategic acquisitions or causing us to make non-strategic divestitures;

 

limiting our ability to obtain additional financing for working capital, capital expenditures, product development, satisfaction of debt service requirements, acquisitions and general corporate or other purposes; and

 

limiting our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business or market conditions and placing us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors who may be better positioned to take advantage of opportunities that our leverage prevents us from exploiting.

Certain of our debt agreements impose significant operating and financial restrictions on us and our subsidiaries, which may prevent us from capitalizing on business opportunities.

The debt agreements that govern our outstanding indebtedness impose, and the credit agreements that govern our senior unsecured credit facilities imposes, significant operating and financial restrictions on us. These restrictions may limit our ability and/or the ability of our subsidiaries to, among other things:

 

incur or guarantee additional debt or issue disqualified stock or preferred stock;

 

make certain investments;

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incur certain liens;

 

enter into transactions with affiliates;

 

merge or consolidate;

 

enter into agreements that restrict the ability of subsidiaries to make dividends or other payments to us or the other subsidiaries; and

 

transfer or sell assets.

In addition, the credit agreements that govern our senior unsecured credit facilities contain certain affirmative covenants that require us to be in compliance with certain leverage and financial ratios and the mortgage-backed loans of our subsidiaries also require them to maintain certain debt service coverage ratios and minimum net worth requirements.

As a result of these restrictions, we are limited as to how we conduct our business and we may be unable to raise additional debt or equity financing to compete effectively or to take advantage of new business opportunities. The terms of any future indebtedness we may incur could include more restrictive covenants. We may not be able to maintain compliance with these covenants in the future and, if we fail to do so, we may not be able to obtain waivers from the lenders and/or amend the covenants.

Our failure to comply with the restrictive covenants described above, as well as other terms of our other indebtedness and/or the terms of any future indebtedness from time to time, could result in an event of default, which, if not cured or waived, could result in our being required to repay these borrowings before their due date. If we are forced to refinance these borrowings on less favorable terms or are unable to refinance these borrowings, our financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.

Servicing our indebtedness will require a significant amount of cash. Our ability to generate sufficient cash depends on many factors, some of which are not within our control.

Our ability to make payments on our indebtedness, to fund planned capital expenditures and to make distributions to our stockholders will depend on our ability to generate cash in the future. To a certain extent, this is subject to general economic, financial, competitive, legislative, regulatory and other factors that are beyond our control. If we are unable to generate sufficient cash flow to service our debt and meet our other commitments, we may need to restructure or refinance all or a portion of our debt, sell material assets or operations or raise additional debt or equity capital. We may not be able to effect any of these actions on a timely basis, on commercially reasonable terms or at all, and these actions may not be sufficient to meet our capital requirements. In addition, the terms of our existing or future debt arrangements may restrict us from effecting any of these alternatives.

We may be able to incur substantially more debt and enter into other transactions, which could further exacerbate the risks to our financial condition described above. The use of debt to finance future acquisitions could restrict operations, inhibit our ability to grow our business and revenues, and negatively affect our business and financial results.

We may be able to incur significant additional indebtedness, including secured debt, in the future. We may also incur significant additional obligations, such as trade payables without restrictions under our debt instruments. In addition, our organizational documents contain no limitation on the amount of debt we may incur, and our board of directors may change our financing policy at any time without stockholder notice or approval. To the extent new debt is added to our current debt levels, the substantial leverage risks described in the preceding three risk factors would increase.

We intend to incur additional debt in connection with future hotel acquisitions. We may, in some instances, borrow under our senior unsecured revolving credit facility or borrow new funds to acquire hotels. For example, prior to the Merger, the Operating Company and PK Domestic entered into a delayed draw term loan agreement with Bank of America, N.A. and BofA Merrill Lynch, and upon the completion of the Merger, a $850 million unsecured delayed draw term loan was fully drawn to fund the Merger. In December 2019, we made prepayments of $180 million to the unsecured delayed draw term loan and $50 million to the senior unsecured term loan facility we entered into in 2016.

In addition, we may incur mortgage debt by obtaining loans secured by a portfolio of some or all of the hotels that we own or acquire and will be subject to increased risks associated with debt financing, including an increased risk that our cash flow could be insufficient to meet required payments on our debt. For example, we assumed $310 million of mortgage loans in connection with the Merger, all of which require payments of principal and interest on a monthly basis. If necessary or advisable, we also may borrow funds to make distributions to our stockholders to maintain our qualification as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes. To the extent that we incur debt in the future and do not have sufficient funds to repay such debt at maturity, it may be necessary to refinance

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the debt through debt or equity financings, which may not be available on acceptable terms or at all and which could be dilutive to our stockholders. If we are unable to refinance our debt on acceptable terms or at all, we may be forced to dispose of hotels at inopportune times or on disadvantageous terms, which could result in losses. To the extent we cannot meet our future debt service obligations, we will risk losing to foreclosure some or all of our hotels that may be pledged to secure our obligation. On December 31, 2019, we had indebtedness of approximately $3.9 billion, including the assumption of Chesapeake’s debt.

For tax purposes, a foreclosure of any of our hotels would be treated as a sale of the hotel for a purchase price equal to the outstanding balance of the debt secured by the mortgage. If the outstanding balance of the debt secured by the mortgage exceeds our tax basis in the hotel, we would recognize taxable gain on foreclosure, but we would not receive any cash proceeds, which could impact our ability to meet the REIT distribution requirements imposed by the Code. In addition, we may give full or partial guarantees to lenders of mortgage debt on behalf of the entities that own our hotels. When we give a guarantee on behalf of an entity that owns one of our hotels, we will be responsible to the lender for satisfaction of the debt if it is not paid by such entity. If any of our hotels are foreclosed on due to a default, our ability to pay cash distributions to our stockholders will be limited.

 

We may be adversely affected by changes in LIBOR reporting practices, the method in which LIBOR is determined or the use of alternative reference rates.

 

As of December 31, 2019, we have $1.4 billion of debt outstanding that is indexed to the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”). In July 2017, the United Kingdom regulator that regulates LIBOR announced its intention to phase out LIBOR rates by the end of 2021. It is not possible to predict the further effect of this announcement, any changes in the methods by which LIBOR is determined or any other reforms to LIBOR that may be enacted in the United Kingdom, the European Union or elsewhere.  In April 2018, the New York Federal Reserve commenced publishing an alternative reference rate to LIBOR as calculated for the U.S. dollar (“USD-LIBOR”), the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”), proposed by a group of major market participants, called the Alternative Reference Rates Committee ("ARRC"), convened by the U.S. Federal Reserve with participation by SEC Staff and other regulators. SOFR is based on transactions in the more robust U.S. Treasury repurchase market and has been proposed as the alternative to USD-LIBOR for use in derivatives and other financial contracts that currently rely on USD-LIBOR as a reference rate. ARRC has proposed a paced market transition plan to SOFR from USD-LIBOR and organizations are currently working on industry-wide and company-specific transition plans as it relates to derivatives and cash markets exposed to USD-LIBOR. At this time, no consensus exists as to what rate or rates may become accepted alternatives to USD-LIBOR, and it is impossible to predict whether and to what extent banks will continue to provide LIBOR submissions to the administrator of LIBOR, whether LIBOR rates will cease to be published or supported before or after 2021 or whether any additional reforms to LIBOR may be enacted in the United Kingdom or elsewhere. Such developments and any other legal or regulatory changes in the method by which USD-LIBOR is determined or the transition from USD-LIBOR to a successor benchmark may result in, among other things, a sudden or prolonged increase or decrease in USD-LIBOR, a delay in the publication of USD-LIBOR, and changes in the rules or methodologies in USD-LIBOR, which may discourage market participants from continuing to administer or to participate in USD-LIBOR’s determination and, in certain situations, could result in USD-LIBOR no longer being determined and published. If a published USD-LIBOR rate is unavailable after 2021, the interest rates on our debt which is indexed to USD-LIBOR will be determined using various alternative methods, any of which may result in interest obligations which are more than or do not otherwise correlate over time with the payments that would have been made on such debt if USD-LIBOR was available in its current form. Further, the same costs and risks that may lead to the unavailability of USD-LIBOR may make one or more of the alternative methods impossible or impracticable to determine. In addition, confusion related to the transition from USD-LIBOR to SOFR or another replacement reference rate for our floating debt and hedging instruments could have an uncertain economic effect on these instruments, hinder our ability to establish effective hedges and result in a different economic value over time for these instruments than they otherwise would have had under USD-LIBOR.  Any of these proposals or consequences could have a material adverse effect on our financing costs, and as a result, our financial condition, operating results and cash flows.

Risks Related to the Spin-Off

We may be responsible for U.S. federal income tax liabilities that relate to the spin-off.

 

Hilton Parent received a ruling (“IRS Ruling”) from the IRS regarding certain U.S. federal income tax aspects of the spin-off. The IRS Ruling received is binding on the IRS, however, the validity of the IRS Ruling is based upon and subject to the accuracy of factual statements and representations made to the IRS by Hilton Parent. As a result of the IRS’s ruling policy at the time of Hilton Parent’s submission, with respect to transactions under Section 355 of the Code, the IRS Ruling is limited to specified aspects of the spin-off under Section 355 of the Code and does not represent a determination by the IRS that all of the requirements necessary to obtain tax-free treatment to holders of Hilton Parent’s common stock and to Hilton have been satisfied. Moreover, if any statement or representation upon which the IRS Ruling is based is incorrect or untrue in any material respect, or if the facts upon which the IRS Ruling is based are materially different from the facts that prevailed at the time of the spin-off, the IRS Ruling could be invalidated. Additionally, legislation enacted after the initial ruling request was submitted to the IRS denies tax-free treatment to a spin-off if one of either the distributing corporation or the spun-off corporation is a REIT and prevents a distributing corporation or a spun-off

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corporation from electing REIT status for a 10-year period following a tax-free spin-off. Moreover, U.S. Treasury regulations would require the recognition of taxable gain in connection with the spin-off of an entity that is a REIT or elects REIT status. Under effective date provisions, the legislation and regulations do not apply to distributions described in a ruling request initially submitted to the IRS before December 7, 2015. Because the initial request for the IRS Ruling was submitted before that date and because we believe the distribution will be considered to have been described in that initial request, we believe the legislation and regulations do not apply to the spin-off. However, no ruling was obtained on the effective date provisions and thus no assurance can be given in that regard. In particular, the IRS or a court could disagree with our view regarding the effective date provisions based on any differences that exist between the description in the ruling request and the actual facts relating to the spin-off. If the effective date provisions did not apply to the spin-off, either the spin-off would not qualify for tax-free treatment or we would not be eligible to elect REIT status for a 10-year period following the spin-off.

In addition, the spin-off was conditioned on the receipt of an opinion of legal counsel to the effect that the distributions of Park Parent (and HGV Parent) common stock will qualify as tax-free distributions under Section 355 of the Code. An opinion of legal counsel is not binding on the IRS. Accordingly, the IRS may reach conclusions with respect to the spin-off that are different from the conclusions reached in the opinion. The opinion was based on certain factual statements and representations, which, if incomplete or untrue in any material respect, could alter legal counsel’s conclusions.

We are not aware of any facts or circumstances that would cause any such factual statements or representations to the IRS Ruling or spin-off tax counsel to be incomplete or untrue or cause the facts on which the IRS Ruling and legal opinion are based to be materially different from the facts at the time of the spin-off.

If all or a portion of the spin-off does not qualify as a tax-free transaction for any reason, including because any of the factual statements or representations to the IRS or to spin-off tax counsel are incomplete or untrue, because the facts upon which the IRS Ruling is based are materially different from the facts at the time of the spin-off or because one or more sales of our common stock, Hilton Parent common stock or HGV Parent common stock by our respective stockholders, including Blackstone, after the spin-off caused the spin-off not to qualify as a tax-free transaction, Hilton Parent may recognize a substantial gain for U.S. federal income tax purposes. In such case, under U.S. Treasury regulations, each member of the Hilton consolidated group at the time of the spin-off (including us) would be jointly and severally liable for the resulting entire amount of any U.S. federal income tax liability. Additionally, if the distribution of HGV Parent common stock and/or the distribution of Park Parent common stock do not qualify as tax-free under Section 355 of the Code, Hilton Parent stockholders will be treated as having received a taxable dividend to the extent of Hilton Parent’s current and accumulated earnings and profits and then would have a tax-free basis recovery up to the amount of their tax basis in their shares and then would have taxable gain from the sale or exchange of the shares to the extent of any excess.

Even if the spin-off otherwise qualifies as a tax-free transaction for U.S. federal income tax purposes, the distribution would be taxable to us, Hilton Parent and HGV Parent (but not to Hilton Parent stockholders) pursuant to Section 355(e) of the Code if there were one or more acquisitions (including issuances) of our stock, the stock of HGV Parent or the stock of Hilton Parent, representing 50% or more, measured by vote or value, of the stock of any such corporation and the acquisition or acquisitions are deemed to be part of a plan or series of related transactions that include the distribution. The distribution occurred on January 3, 2017. Any acquisition of our common stock within the two-year period before or after January 3, 2017 (with exceptions, including public trading by less-than-5% stockholders and certain compensatory stock issuances) generally would be presumed to have been part of such a plan; however, that presumption is rebuttable. The resulting tax liability would be substantial, and under U.S. Treasury regulations, each member of the Hilton consolidated group at the time of the spin-off (including us) would be jointly and severally liable for the resulting U.S. federal income tax liability. We do not believe that there have been acquisitions of 50% or more of our stock pursuant to a plan that would cause the distribution to be taxable pursuant to Section 355(e) of the Code.  This determination relies in part upon factual statements and representations by Hilton Parent, HGV Parent and certain of our shareholders.  Also, the rules for determining whether our shares have been acquired pursuant to the requisite plan are not clear in all cases.  Accordingly, the IRS or a court could disagree with our view.

Pursuant to the Tax Matters Agreement, we agreed, subject to certain exceptions, not to enter into certain transactions that could cause any portion of the spin-off to be taxable to Hilton Parent, including under Section 355(e) of the Code. Pursuant to the Tax Matters Agreement, we also agreed to indemnify Hilton Parent and HGV Parent for any tax liabilities resulting from such transactions or other actions we take, or fail to take, and Hilton Parent and HGV Parent agreed to indemnify us for any tax liabilities resulting from transactions entered into by Hilton Parent or HGV Parent. These obligations could have discouraged, delayed or prevented a change of control of our company but these restrictions no longer apply after January 4, 2019. For additional detail, see “Spin-off Related Agreements—Tax Matters Agreement.”

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The spin-off and related transactions may expose us to potential liabilities arising out of state and U.S. federal fraudulent conveyance laws and legal distribution requirements.

The spin-off could be challenged under various state and U.S. federal fraudulent conveyance laws. An unpaid creditor or an entity vested with the power of such creditor (such as a trustee or debtor-in-possession in a bankruptcy) could claim that Hilton Parent did not receive fair consideration or reasonably equivalent value in the spin-off, and that the spin-off left Hilton Parent insolvent or with unreasonably small capital or that Hilton Parent intended or believed it would incur debts beyond its ability to pay such debts as they mature. If a court were to agree with such a plaintiff, then such court could void the spin-off as a fraudulent transfer and could impose a number of different remedies, including without limitation, returning our assets or your shares in our company to Hilton Parent or providing Hilton Parent with a claim for money damages against us in an amount equal to the difference between the consideration received by Hilton Parent and the fair market value of our company at the time of the spin-off.

In addition, the distribution of our estimated share of C corporation earnings and profits attributable to the period prior to spin-off (“E&P Dividend”) could similarly be challenged as a fraudulent conveyance or transfer. If a court were to find that the E&P Dividend was a fraudulent transfer or conveyance, a court could void the E&P Dividend, require stockholders to return to us some or all of the E&P Dividend or require stockholders to pay as money damages an equivalent of the value of the E&P Dividend. Moreover, stockholders could be required to return any dividends previously paid by us.

The measure of insolvency for purposes of the fraudulent conveyance laws may vary depending on which jurisdiction’s law is applied. Generally, however, an entity would be considered insolvent if the fair saleable value of its assets is less than the amount of its liabilities (including the probable amount of contingent liabilities), and such entity would be considered to have unreasonably small capital if it lacked adequate capital to conduct its business in the ordinary course and pay its liabilities as they become due. No assurance can be given as to what standard a court would apply to determine insolvency or that a court would determine that Hilton Parent were solvent at the time of or after giving effect to the spin-off, including the distribution of our common stock, or that Park Parent was solvent at the time of or after giving effect to the E&P Dividend.

We could be required to assume responsibility for obligations allocated to Hilton Parent or HGV Parent under the Distribution Agreement or Tax Matters Agreement or could have indemnification obligations under such agreements.

Under the Distribution Agreement and related ancillary agreements, from and after the spin-offs, each of Hilton Parent, Park Parent and HGV Parent are generally responsible for the debts, liabilities and other obligations related to the business or businesses which they own and operate following the spin-off. Although we do not expect to be liable for any obligations that are not allocated to us under the Distribution Agreement, a court could disregard the allocation agreed to between the parties, and require that we assume responsibility for obligations allocated to Hilton Parent or HGV (for example, tax and/or environmental liabilities), particularly if Hilton Parent or HGV Parent were to refuse or were unable to pay or perform the allocated obligations. See “Spin-off Related Agreements—Distribution Agreement.”

In addition, the Distribution Agreement and Tax Matters Agreement provide for cross-indemnities that, except as provided in such agreements, are principally designed to place financial responsibility for the obligations and liabilities of each business with the appropriate company. As well, losses in respect of certain shared contingent liabilities, which generally are not specifically attributable to our business, HGV business or the retained business of Hilton, were determined on the date on which the Distribution Agreement was entered into. The percentage of shared contingent liabilities for which we are responsible was fixed in a manner that is intended to approximate our estimated enterprise value on the distribution date relative to the estimated enterprise values of HGV and Hilton. Subject to certain limitations and exceptions, Hilton will generally be vested with the exclusive management and control of all matters pertaining to any such shared contingent liabilities, including the prosecution of any claim and the conduct of any defense. Any of the foregoing indemnification obligations or shared contingent liabilities could negatively affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. See “Spin-off Related Agreements—Distribution Agreement” and “—Tax Matters Agreement.”

Hilton may fail to perform under various transaction agreements that we have executed as part of the spin-offs.

In connection with the spin-offs, we, Hilton Parent and HGV Parent entered into the Distribution Agreement and various other agreements, including the Tax Matters Agreement and the Management Agreements. Certain of these agreements provide for the performance of services by each company for the benefit of the other following the spin-offs. We are relying on each of Hilton and HGV to satisfy its performance and payment obligations under these agreements. In addition, it is possible that a court would disregard the allocation agreed to between us, Hilton and HGV and require that we assume responsibility for certain obligations allocated to Hilton and to HGV, particularly if Hilton or HGV were to refuse or were unable to pay or perform such obligations. The impact of any of these factors is difficult to predict, but one or more of them could cause reputational harm and could have an adverse effect on our financial position, results of operations and/or cash flows.

 

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In connection with the spin-offs, Hilton and HGV indemnified us for certain liabilities. These indemnities may not be sufficient to insure us against the full amount of the liabilities assumed by Hilton and HGV, and Hilton and HGV may be unable to satisfy their indemnification obligations to us in the future.

 

In connection with the spin-offs, each of Hilton and HGV indemnified us with respect to such parties’ assumed or retained liabilities pursuant to the Distribution Agreement and breaches of the Distribution Agreement or other agreements related to the spin-offs. The assumed or retained liabilities for which we are indemnified by Hilton and HGV include liabilities associated with businesses and assets allocated to Hilton and HGV in connection with the spin-offs. There can be no assurance that the indemnities from each of Hilton and HGV will be sufficient to protect us against the full amount of these and other liabilities. Third parties also could seek to hold us responsible for any of the liabilities that Hilton and HGV have agreed to assume. Even if we ultimately succeed in recovering from Hilton or HGV any amounts for which we are held liable, we may be temporarily required to bear those losses ourselves. Each of these risks could negatively affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

Risks Related to our REIT Status and Certain Other Tax Items

If we do not maintain our qualification as a REIT, we will be subject to tax as a C corporation and could face a substantial tax liability.

We have been taxed as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes beginning January 4, 2017. We believe we have been organized and operated, and expect to continue to be organized and operate, in a manner to qualify as a REIT. However, qualification as a REIT involves the interpretation and application of highly technical and complex Code provisions for which no or only a limited number of judicial or administrative interpretations may exist. Notwithstanding the availability of cure provisions in the Code, we could fail to meet various compliance requirements, which could jeopardize our REIT status. Furthermore, new tax legislation, administrative guidance or court decisions, in each instance potentially with retroactive effect, could make it more difficult or impossible for us to qualify as a REIT. If we fail to qualify as a REIT in any tax year, then:

 

we would be taxed as a C corporation, which under current laws, among other things, means being unable to deduct dividends paid to stockholders in computing taxable income and being subject to U.S. federal income tax on our taxable income at corporate income tax rates;

 

any resulting tax liability could be substantial and could have a material adverse effect on our value and financial condition;

 

unless we were entitled to relief under applicable statutory provisions, we would be required to pay income taxes, and thus, our cash available for distribution to stockholders would be reduced for each of the years during which we did not qualify as a REIT; and

 

we generally would not be eligible to requalify as a REIT for the subsequent four taxable years.

In addition, if we fail to qualify as a REIT, we will not be required to make distributions to stockholders, and all distributions to stockholders will be subject to tax to the extent of our current and accumulated earnings and profits. As a result of all these factors, our failure to qualify as a REIT could impair our ability to execute our business and growth strategies, as well as make it more difficult for us to raise capital and service our indebtedness.

Qualifying as a REIT involves highly technical and complex provisions of the Code and therefore, in certain circumstances, may be subject to uncertainty.

In order to continue to qualify as a REIT, we must satisfy a number of requirements, including requirements regarding the composition of our assets, the sources of our income and the diversity of our share ownership. Also, we must make distributions to stockholders aggregating annually at least 90% of our “REIT taxable income” (determined without regard to the dividends paid deduction and excluding net capital gain). Compliance with these requirements and all other requirements for qualification as a REIT involves the application of highly technical and complex Code provisions for which there are only limited judicial and administrative interpretations. The complexity of these provisions and of the applicable Treasury regulations that have been promulgated under the Code is greater in the case of a REIT that, like us, conducts significant business operations through one or more TRSs. Even a technical or inadvertent action could jeopardize our REIT status. In addition, the determination of various factual matters and circumstances relevant to REIT qualification is not entirely within our control and may affect our ability to qualify as a REIT. Accordingly, we cannot be certain that our organization and operation will enable us to qualify as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

 

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Park would incur adverse tax consequences if Chesapeake or any of Park or Chesapeake’s subsidiary REITs failed to qualify as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

 

Park accepted that Chesapeake qualified as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes prior to the Merger and that Park will be able to continue to qualify as a REIT following the Merger. However, if Chesapeake has failed to qualify as a REIT, Merger Sub would succeed to significant tax liabilities (including the significant tax liability that would result from the deemed sale of assets by Chesapeake pursuant to the Merger) the economic burden of which would be borne by PK Domestic and Park, and Park could possibly lose its REIT status should disqualifying activities continue after the Merger. Park’s REIT status is also dependent upon the ongoing qualification of subsidiary entities qualifying as REITs or TRSs, as applicable, as a result of its substantial ownership interest in those entities.

We may face other tax liabilities that reduce our cash flows.

Even if we qualify for taxation as a REIT, we may be subject to certain U.S. federal, state and local taxes on our income and assets, including taxes on any undistributed income, built-in gain tax on the taxable sale of assets, tax on income from some activities conducted as a result of a foreclosure, and non-U.S. income, state or local income, property and transfer taxes. Moreover, if we have net income from “prohibited transactions,” that income will be subject to a 100% tax. In addition, we could, in certain circumstances, be required to pay an excise or penalty tax (which could be significant in amount) in order to utilize one or more relief provisions under the Code to maintain our qualification as a REIT. We are subject to U.S. federal and state income tax (and any applicable non-U.S. taxes) on the income earned by our TRSs. Any of these taxes would decrease cash available for distributions to stockholders. Finally, we have operations and assets in Puerto Rico that are subject to tax. Any of these taxes decrease cash available for distribution to our stockholders.

Complying with REIT requirements may cause us to forego and/or liquidate otherwise attractive opportunities and limit our expansion opportunities.

To continue to qualify as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we must continually satisfy tests concerning, among other things, our sources of income, the nature of our investments in real estate and related assets, the amounts we distribute to our stockholders and the ownership of our stock. We may also be required to make distributions to stockholders at disadvantageous times or when we do not have funds readily available for distribution.

As a REIT, we must ensure that at the end of each calendar quarter, at least 75% of the value of our gross assets consists of cash, cash items, government securities and qualified real estate assets. The remainder of our investments in securities cannot include more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of any one issuer or 10% of the total value of the outstanding securities of any one issuer unless we and such issuer jointly elect for such issuer to be treated as a TRS under the Code. The total value of all of our investments in TRSs cannot exceed 20% of the value of our total assets. No more than 5% of the value of our assets can consist of the securities of any one issuer other than a TRS. In addition, not more than 25% of our total assets may be represented by debt instruments issued by publicly offered REITs that are “nonqualified” debt instruments. If we fail to comply with these requirements, we must dispose of a portion of our assets within 30 days after the end of the calendar quarter in which such discrepancy arises or qualify for certain statutory relief provisions to avoid losing our REIT status and suffering adverse tax consequences. As a result, we may be required to liquidate from our portfolio, or contribute to a TRS, otherwise attractive investments in order to maintain our qualification as a REIT. These actions could have the effect of reducing our income, increasing our income tax liability, and reducing amounts available for distribution to our stockholders. In addition, we may also be required to make distributions to stockholders at disadvantageous times or when we do not have funds readily available for distribution, and may be unable to pursue investments (or, in some cases, forego the sale of such investments) that would be otherwise advantageous to us in order to satisfy the source-of-income or asset-diversification requirements for qualifying as a REIT. Thus, compliance with REIT requirements may hinder our ability to operate solely on the basis of maximizing profits.

 

Complying with REIT requirements may force us to borrow to make distributions to stockholders.

From time to time, our taxable income may be greater than our cash flow available for distribution to stockholders. If we do not have other funds available in these situations, we may be unable to distribute substantially all of our taxable income as required by the REIT provisions of the Code. Thus, we could be required to borrow funds, raise additional equity capital, sell a portion of our assets at disadvantageous prices or find another alternative to make distributions to stockholders. These options could increase our costs or reduce our equity.

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The ownership of our TRSs (including our TRS lessees) increases our overall tax liability.

Our domestic TRSs are subject to U.S. federal, state and local income tax on their taxable income, which in the case of our TRS lessees, consists of the revenues from the hotels leased by our TRS lessees, net of the operating expenses for such hotels and rent payments to us. Accordingly, although our ownership of our TRS lessees allows us to participate in the operating income from our hotels in addition to receiving rent, that operating income is fully subject to income tax. The after-tax net income of our TRSs, including our TRS lessees is available for distribution to us.

Our ownership of our TRSs, and any other TRSs we form, will be subject to limitations, and our transactions with our TRSs, and any other TRSs we form, may cause us to be subject to a 100% penalty tax on certain income or deductions if those transactions are not conducted on arm’s-length terms.

Overall, no more than 20% of the value of a REIT’s assets may consist of stock or securities of one or more TRSs. In addition, the Code limits the deductibility of interest paid or accrued by a TRS, subject to an exception for an electing, eligible real property trade or business. The Code also imposes a 100% excise tax on certain transactions between a TRS and its parent REIT that are not conducted on an arm’s-length basis. The 100% tax may apply, for example, to the extent that we were found to have charged our TRS lessees rent in excess of an arm’s-length rent. It is our policy to evaluate material intercompany transactions and to attempt to set the terms of such transactions so as to achieve substantially the same result as they believe would have been the case if they were unrelated parties. As a result, we believe that all material transactions between and among us and the entities in which we own a direct or indirect interest have been and will be negotiated and structured with the intention of achieving an arm’s-length result and that the potential application of the 100% excise tax will not have a material effect on us. There can be no assurance, however, that we will be able to comply with the TRS limitation or to avoid application of the 100% excise tax.

If the leases of our hotels to our TRS lessees are not respected as true leases for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we will fail to qualify as a REIT.

To continue to qualify as a REIT, we must annually satisfy two gross income tests, under which specified percentages of our gross income must be derived from certain sources, such as “rents from real property.” Rents paid to us by our TRS lessees pursuant to the leases of our hotels will constitute substantially all of our gross income. In order for such rent to qualify as “rents from real property” for purposes of the gross income tests, the leases must be respected as true leases for U.S. federal income tax purposes and not be treated as service contracts, financing arrangements, joint ventures or some other type of arrangement. We have structured our leases, and intend to structure any future leases, so that the leases will be respected as true leases for U.S. federal income tax purposes, but there can be no assurance that the IRS will agree with this characterization, not challenge this treatment or that a court would not sustain such a challenge. If our leases are not respected as true leases for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we will fail to qualify as a REIT.

If any third-party hotel managers do not qualify as “eligible independent contractors” or if our hotels are not “qualified lodging facilities,” we will fail to qualify as a REIT.

Rent paid by a lessee that is a “related party tenant” of ours will not be qualifying income for purposes of the two gross income tests applicable to REITs. An exception is provided, however, for leases of “qualified lodging facilities” to a TRS so long as the hotels are operated by an “eligible independent contractor” and certain other requirements are satisfied. Substantially all of our hotels are leased to our TRS lessees which have engaged third-party hotel managers (including Hilton, which manages a majority of our hotels) that we believe qualify as “eligible independent contractors.” Among other requirements, an operator will qualify as an eligible independent contractor if it meets certain ownership tests with respect to us, and if, at the time the operator enters into a property management contract with a TRS or its TRS lessee with respect to one of our properties, the operator is actively engaged in the trade or business of operating “qualified lodging facilities” (as defined below) for one or more persons not related to the REIT or its TRSs. No assurances can be provided that any of our current and future hotel managers will in fact comply with this requirement. Failure to comply with this requirement would require us to find other hotel managers for future contracts, and, if we hired a management company without knowledge of the failure, it could jeopardize our status as a REIT.

Finally, each property with respect to which our TRS lessees pay rent must be a “qualified lodging facility.” A “qualified lodging facility” is a hotel, motel or other establishment more than one-half of the dwelling units in which are used on a transient basis, including customary amenities and facilities, provided that no wagering activities are conducted at or in connection with such facility by any person who is engaged in the business of accepting wagers and who is legally authorized to engage in such business at or in connection with such facility. We believe that the properties that are leased to our TRS lessees are qualified lodging facilities. Although we intend to monitor future acquisitions and improvements of properties, REIT provisions of the Code provide no or only limited guidance for making determinations under the requirements for qualified lodging facilities, and there can be no assurance that these requirements will be satisfied.

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Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation does not permit any person to own more than 9.8% of our outstanding common stock or more than 9.8% of any outstanding class or series of our preferred stock, and attempts to acquire our common stock or any class or series of our preferred stock in excess of these 9.8% limits would not be effective without an exemption from these limits by our board of directors.

For us to qualify as a REIT under the Code, not more than 50% of the value of our outstanding stock may be owned directly or indirectly, by five or fewer individuals (including certain entities treated as individuals for this purpose) during the last half of a taxable year.

For the purpose of assisting our qualification as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes, among other purposes, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation prohibits beneficial or constructive ownership by any person of more than 9.8%, in value or by number of shares, whichever is more restrictive, of the outstanding shares of our common stock or more than 9.8%, in value or by number of shares, whichever is more restrictive, of any outstanding class or series of our preferred stock, which we refer to as the “ownership limit.” The constructive ownership rules under the Code are complex and may cause shares of the outstanding common stock or preferred stock owned by a group of related persons to be deemed to be constructively owned by one person. As a result, the acquisition of less than 9.8% of our outstanding common stock or any class or series of our preferred stock by a person could cause a person to own constructively in excess of 9.8% of our outstanding common stock or any class or series of our preferred stock, respectively, and thus violate the ownership limit. There can be no assurance that our board of directors, as permitted in the amended and restated certificate of incorporation, will not decrease this ownership limit in the future. Any attempt to own or transfer shares of our common stock or preferred stock in excess of the ownership limit without the consent of our board of directors will result either in the shares in excess of the limit being transferred by operation of the amended and restated certificate of incorporation to a charitable trust, and the person who attempted to acquire such excess shares will not have any rights in such excess shares, or in the transfer being void.

The ownership limit may have the effect of precluding a change in control of us by a third party, even if such change in control would be in the best interests of our stockholders or would result in receipt of a premium to the price of our common stock (and even if such change in control would not reasonably jeopardize our REIT status). In addition, exemptions to the ownership limit may limit our board of directors’ power to grant further exemptions in the future.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation prohibits any person from owning shares of our stock to the extent such ownership would result in our failing to qualify as a “domestically controlled qualified investment entity,” and, as a result, foreign persons collectively will be prohibited from owning more than 49.9% of our common stock.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation prohibits any person from beneficially owning shares of our stock to the extent such ownership would result in our failing to qualify as a “domestically controlled qualified investment entity” within the meaning of Section 897(h) of the Code (a “Domestically Controlled REIT”). A Domestically Controlled REIT is a REIT in which less than 50% in value of the stock is held directly or indirectly by foreign persons. This restriction may have the effect of precluding certain transfers of our stock to a third party, even if such transfer would be in the best interests of our stockholders.

Complying with REIT requirements may limit our ability to hedge effectively and may cause us to incur tax liabilities.

The REIT provisions of the Code substantially limit our ability to hedge our liabilities. Any income from a hedging transaction we enter into to manage risk of interest rate changes with respect to borrowings made or to be made to acquire or carry real estate assets (each such hedge, a “Borrowings Hedge”), or manage the risk of certain currency fluctuations (each such hedge, a “Currency Hedge”), if clearly identified under applicable Treasury Regulations, does not constitute “gross income” for purposes of the two gross income tests that we must satisfy in order to maintain our qualification as a REIT. Exclusion from the gross income tests also applies if we previously entered into a Borrowings Hedge or a Currency Hedge, a portion of the hedged indebtedness or property is disposed of, and in connection with such extinguishment or disposition we enter into a new “clearly identified” hedging transaction to offset the prior hedging position. To the extent that we enter into other types of hedging transactions, the income from those transactions is likely to be treated as non-qualifying income for purposes of both of the gross income tests. As a result of these rules, we intend to limit our use of hedging techniques or implement those hedges through a domestic TRS. This could increase the cost of our hedging activities because our TRSs would be subject to tax on gains or it could expose us to greater risks associated with changes in interest rates than we would otherwise want to bear. In addition, losses in our TRSs will generally not provide any tax benefit, except for being carried forward against future taxable income as allowable under the Code in the TRSs. In this regard, losses in our TRSs arising in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 may only be deducted against 80% of future taxable income in the TRSs, in any one year.

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Dividends payable by REITs are taxed differently than other dividends.

The maximum U.S. federal income tax rate applicable to qualified dividend income payable from C corporations to certain non-corporate U.S. stockholders is currently 23.8% (taking into account the 3.8% Medicare tax applicable to net investment income). Dividends payable by REITs, however, generally are not qualified dividends and are taxed at ordinary income levels. Effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 and before January 1, 2026, noncorporate U.S. stockholders may deduct 20% of their dividends from REITs (excluding qualified dividend income and capital gains dividends). This does not adversely affect the taxation of REIT dividends; however, the more favorable rates applicable to C corporation qualified dividends could cause certain non-corporate investors to perceive investments in REITs to be relatively less attractive than investments in the stocks of non-REIT corporations that pay dividends, which could adversely affect the value of the shares of REITs, including our common stock.

We may be subject to adverse legislative or regulatory tax changes that could increase our tax liability, reduce our operating flexibility and reduce the price of our common stock.

Congress, the United States Treasury Department, the IRS and state legislatures and taxing authorities frequently review income tax legislation, regulations and other guidance. We cannot predict whether, when or to what extent new tax laws, regulations, interpretations or rulings will be adopted. Any legislative action may prospectively or retroactively modify our tax treatment and, therefore, may adversely affect taxation of us and our investors. We urge you to consult with your tax advisor with respect to the status of legislative, regulatory or administrative developments and proposals and their potential effect on an investment in our shares. Although REITs receive certain tax advantages compared to entities taxed as C corporations, it is possible that future legislation would result in a REIT having fewer tax advantages, and it could become more advantageous for a company that invests in real estate to elect to be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as a C corporation. As a result, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides our board of directors with the power, under certain circumstances, to revoke or otherwise terminate our REIT election and cause us to be taxed as a C corporation, without the approval of our stockholders.

Even if we continue to qualify to be a REIT, we could be subject to tax on any recognized net built-in gains in our assets held before electing to be treated as a REIT.

We own appreciated assets that were held by Hilton, a C corporation, and were acquired by us in the spin-off from Hilton Parent in a transaction in which the adjusted tax basis of the assets in our hands was determined by reference to the adjusted basis of the assets in the hands of Hilton. If we dispose of any such appreciated assets during the five-year period following the effective date of our REIT election (January 4, 2017), we will be subject to tax at the highest corporate tax rates on the lesser of (i) the amount of gain that we recognize at the time of the sale or disposition; and (ii) the amount of gain that we would have recognized if we had sold the assets at the time that we acquired them  (i.e., the effective date of our REIT election ) (such gain referred to as “built-in gains”). We would be subject to this tax liability even if we maintain our status as a REIT. The amount of tax could be significant. Any recognized built-in gain will retain its character as ordinary income or capital gain and will be taken into account in determining REIT taxable income and our REIT distribution requirement. Any tax paid on the recognized built-in gain will reduce our REIT taxable income. We may choose not to sell appreciated assets we might otherwise sell during the five-year period in which the built-in gain tax applies to avoid the built-in gain tax. However, there can be no assurances that such a taxable transaction will not occur. If we sell such assets in a taxable transaction, the amount of corporate tax that we will pay will vary depending on the actual amount of net built-in gain in those assets as of the time we became a REIT. The same rules would apply to any assets we acquire in the future from a C corporation in a carryover basis transaction with built-in gain at the time of the acquisition by us. If we choose to dispose of any assets within the specified period, we will attempt to utilize various tax planning strategies, including Code Section 1031 like-kind exchanges, to mitigate the exposure to the built-in-gains tax. However, only real property sales are eligible for Section 1031 treatment. Gain from a sale of an asset occurring after the specified period ends will not be subject to this corporate level tax.

There are uncertainties relating to the E&P Dividend.

Hilton Parent allocated its accumulated earnings and profits (as determined for U.S. federal income tax purposes) for periods prior to the spin-off between Hilton Parent, HGV Parent and us in a manner that, in its best judgment, was in accordance with the provisions of the Code. To comply with certain REIT qualification requirements, we declared a dividend to our stockholders to distribute our accumulated earnings and profits attributable to non-REIT years, including the earnings and profits allocated to us in connection with the spin-off. The calculation of the amount of earnings and profits was a complex factual and legal determination. We believe that our E&P Dividend satisfies the requirements relating to the distribution of our pre-REIT accumulated earnings and profits. No assurance can be given, however, that the IRS will agree with our or Hilton Parent’s calculation or allocation of earnings and profits to us. If the IRS is successful in asserting that we have additional amounts of pre-REIT earnings and profits, there are procedures generally available to cure any failure to distribute all of our pre-REIT earnings and profits, but there can be no assurance that we will be able to successfully implement such procedures.

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Risks Related to Ownership of Our Common Stock

Anti-takeover provisions in our organizational documents and Delaware law might discourage or delay acquisition attempts for us that stockholders might consider favorable.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and bylaws contains provisions that may make the merger or acquisition of our company more difficult without the approval of our board of directors. Among other things:

 

the restrictions on ownership and transfer of our stock discussed under the caption “Description of Capital Stock—Restrictions on Ownership and Transfer” prevent any person from acquiring more than 9.8% (in value or by number of shares, whichever is more restrictive) of our outstanding common stock or more than 9.8% (in value or by number of shares, whichever is more restrictive) of any outstanding class or series of our preferred stock without the approval of our board of directors;

 

although we do not have a stockholder rights plan, and would either submit any such plan to stockholders for ratification or cause such plan to expire within a year, these provisions would allow us to authorize the issuance of undesignated preferred stock in connection with a stockholder rights plan or otherwise, the terms of which may be established and the shares of which may be issued without stockholder approval, and which may include super voting, special approval, dividend, or other rights or preferences superior to the rights of the holders of common stock;

 

these provisions prohibit stockholder action by written consent unless such action is recommended by all directors then in office;

 

these provisions provide that our board of directors is expressly authorized to make, alter or repeal our bylaws; and

 

these provisions establish advance notice requirements for nominations for elections to our board or for proposing matters that can be acted upon by stockholders at stockholder meetings.

These anti-takeover provisions could discourage, delay or prevent a transaction involving a change in control of our company, including actions that our stockholders may deem advantageous, or negatively affect the trading price of our common stock. These provisions could also discourage proxy contests and make it more difficult for you and other stockholders to elect directors of your choosing and to cause us to take other corporate actions you desire.

The market price and trading volume of our common stock may fluctuate widely.

The market price of our common stock may fluctuate significantly, depending upon many factors, some of which may be beyond our control, including, but not limited to:

 

a shift in our investor base;

 

our quarterly or annual earnings, or those of comparable companies;

 

actual or anticipated fluctuations in our operating results;

 

our ability to obtain financing as needed;

 

changes in laws and regulations affecting our business;

 

changes in accounting standards, policies, guidance, interpretations or principles;

 

announcements by us or our competitors of significant investments, acquisitions or dispositions;

 

changes in earnings estimates by securities analysts or our ability to meet those estimates;

 

the operating performance and stock price of comparable companies;

 

overall market fluctuations;

 

a decline in the real estate markets; and

 

general economic conditions and other external factors.

Moreover, securities markets worldwide experience significant price and volume fluctuations. This market volatility, as well as general economic, market or political conditions, could reduce the market price of shares without regard to our operating performance. For example, the trading prices of equity securities issued by REITs historically have been affected by changes in market interest rates. One of the factors that may influence the market price of our common stock is the annual yield from distributions on our common stock as compared to yields on other financial instruments. An increase in market interest rates, or a decrease in our

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distributions to stockholders, may lead prospective purchasers of shares of our common stock to demand a higher distribution rate or seek alternative investments. As a result, if interest rates rise, it is likely that the market price of our common stock will decrease as market rates on interest-bearing securities increase. In addition, our operating results could be below the expectations of public market analysts and investors, and in response the market price of our shares could decrease significantly. The market value of the equity securities of a REIT is also based upon the market’s perception of the REIT’s growth potential and its current and potential future cash distributions, whether from operations, sales or refinancings, and is secondarily based upon the real estate market value of the underlying assets. For that reason, our common stock may trade at prices that are higher or lower than our net asset value per share. To the extent we retain operating cash flow for investment purposes, working capital reserves or other purposes, these retained funds, while increasing the value of our underlying assets, may not correspondingly increase the market price of our common stock. Our failure to meet the market’s expectations with regard to future earnings and cash distributions likely would adversely affect the market price of our common stock.

The stock ownership limits imposed by the Code for REITs and our amended and restated certificate of incorporation restrict stock transfers and/or business combination opportunities.

In order for us to maintain our qualification as a REIT under the Code, not more than 50% in value of our outstanding stock may be owned, directly or indirectly, by five or fewer individuals (as defined in the Code to include certain entities) at any time during the last half of each taxable year. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, with certain exceptions, authorizes our board of directors to take the actions that are necessary and desirable to preserve our qualification as a REIT. Unless exempted by our board of directors, no person or entity (other than a person or entity who has been granted an exception) may directly or indirectly, beneficially own, or be deemed to own by virtue of the applicable constructive ownership provisions of the Code, more than 9.8%, in value or by number of shares, whichever is more restrictive, of our outstanding common stock, or more than 9.8%, in value or by number of shares, whichever is more restrictive, of any outstanding class or series of our preferred stock.

Our board may, in its sole discretion, grant an exemption to the ownership limits, subject to certain conditions and the receipt by our board of certain representations and undertakings. In addition, our board of directors may change the share ownership limits. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation also prohibits any person from: (1) beneficially or constructively owning, as determined by applying certain attribution rules of the Code, our stock if that would result in us being “closely held” under Section 856(h) of the Code or otherwise cause us to fail to qualify as a REIT; (2) beneficially or constructively owning shares of our stock that would cause any person, including Hilton Parent, to fail to qualify as our eligible independent contractor; (3) transferring stock if such transfer would result in our stock being owned by fewer than 100 persons; and (4) beneficially owning shares of our stock to the extent such ownership would result in our failing to qualify as a “domestically controlled qualified investment entity” within the meaning of Section 897(h) of the Code. The stock ownership limits contained in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation key off the ownership at any time by any “person,” which term includes entities, and take into account direct and indirect ownership as determined under various ownership attribution rules in the Code. The stock ownership limits also might delay or prevent a transaction or a change in our control that might involve a premium price for our common stock or otherwise be in the best interests of our stockholders.

 

 

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Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments.

 

None.

Item 2. Properties.

Our Properties

The following table provides a list of our portfolio as of February 27, 2020:

 

Location

 

Type(1)

 

Ownership

Percentage

 

 

Rooms

 

 Arizona

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Embassy Suites Phoenix Airport

 

GL

 

100%

 

 

 

182

 

 California

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Hilton San Francisco Union Square

 

FS

 

100%

 

 

 

1,921

 

 Hilton San Diego Bayfront

 

JV, GL

 

25%

 

 

 

1,190

 

 Parc 55 San Francisco - a Hilton Hotel

 

FS

 

100%

 

 

 

1,024

 

 DoubleTree Hotel San Jose

 

FS

 

100%

 

 

 

505

 

 DoubleTree Hotel Ontario Airport

 

FS

 

67%

 

 

 

482

 

Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina

 

GL

 

100%

 

 

 

438

 

 Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines

 

JV, GL

 

25%

 

 

 

394

 

 Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort

 

FS

 

50%

 

 

 

360

 

 Hilton Oakland Airport

 

GL

 

100%

 

 

 

360

 

Le Meridien San Francisco

 

FS

 

100%

 

 

 

360

 

JW Marriott San Francisco Union Square

 

GL

 

100%

 

 

 

344

 

Hyatt Centric Fisherman's Wharf

 

FS

 

100%

 

 

 

316

 

 DoubleTree Hotel San Diego – Mission Valley

 

GL