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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020
OR
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from              to             
Commission file number: 001-36400
ASHFORD INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Nevada 84-2331507
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization) (IRS employer identification number)
14185 Dallas Parkway
Suite 1100
Dallas
Texas 75254
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip code)
(972) 490-9600
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class Trading Symbol Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock AINC NYSE American LLC
Preferred Stock Purchase Rights NYSE American LLC
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     þ  No
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. ¨  Yes     þ  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.    þ  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)    þ  Yes    ¨  No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “small reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer Accelerated filer
Non-accelerated filer Smaller 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) if the Exchange Act. ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 USC. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).      Yes    þ  No
As of June 30, 2020, the aggregate market value of 1,804,172 shares of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates was approximately $18,312,346.
As of March 11, 2021, the registrant had 2,865,965 shares of common stock issued and outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement pertaining to the 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated herein by reference into Part III of this Form 10-K.



ASHFORD INC.
YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2020
INDEX TO FORM 10-K
Page
PART I
Item 1.
5
Item 1A.
Item 1B.
Item 2.
Item 3.
Item 4.
PART II
Item 5.
Item 6.
Item 7.
Item 7A.
Item 8.
Item 9.
Item 9A.
Item 9B.
PART III
Item 10.
Item 11.
Item 12.
Item 13.
Item 14.
PART IV
Item 15.
Item 16.



As used in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, unless the context otherwise indicates, the references to “we,” “us,” “our,” and the “Company” refer to Ashford Inc., a Nevada corporation, and, as the context may require, its consolidated subsidiaries, including Ashford Hospitality Advisors LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, which we refer to as “Ashford LLC” or “our operating company”; Ashford Hospitality Holdings LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, which we refer to as “Ashford Holdings”; Ashford Hospitality Services LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, which we refer to as “Ashford Services”; Premier Project Management LLC, a Maryland limited liability company, which we refer to as “Premier Project Management,” or “Premier”; from and after November 6, 2019, Remington Lodging & Hospitality, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, which we refer to as “Remington” a hotel management company acquired by Ashford Inc. on November 6, 2019 from Mr. Monty J. Bennett, our chief executive officer and chairman of our board of directors (the “Board”), and his father, Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr., chairman emeritus of Ashford Trust; and, from and after November 6, 2019, Marietta Leasehold, L.P. (“Marietta”), also included in the November 6, 2019 transaction to acquire Remington. “Remington Lodging” refers to Remington prior to the completion of the acquisition, resulting in Remington Lodging & Hospitality, LLC becoming a subsidiary of Ashford Inc. “Braemar” refers to Braemar Hotels & Resorts Inc., a Maryland corporation, and, as the context may require, its consolidated subsidiaries, including Braemar Hospitality Limited Partnership, a Delaware limited partnership, which we refer to as “Braemar OP.” “Ashford Trust” or “AHT” refers to Ashford Hospitality Trust, Inc., a Maryland corporation, and, as the context may require, its consolidated subsidiaries, including Ashford Hospitality Limited Partnership, a Delaware limited partnership and Ashford Trust’s operating partnership, which we refer to as “Ashford Trust OP.”    
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Form 10-K and documents incorporated herein by reference contain certain forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements are generally identifiable by use of forward-looking terminology such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “potential,” “intend,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “approximately,” “believe,” “could,” “project,” “predict,” or other similar words or expressions. Additionally, statements regarding the following subjects are forward-looking by their nature: 
the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and numerous governmental travel restrictions and other orders pandemic and numerous governmental travel restrictions and other orders on our clients’ and our business, including one or more possible recurrences of COVID-19 cases that could cause state and local governments to reinstate travel restrictions;
our business and investment strategy;
our projected operating results;
our ability to obtain future financing arrangements;
our ability to regain compliance with the NYSE American LLC (the “NYSE American”) continued listing standards;
our understanding of our competition;
market trends;
the future success of recent acquisitions, including the 2018 acquisition of Premier and the 2019 acquisition of Remington;
the future success of recent business initiatives, including the Enhanced Return Funding Programs (“ERFPs”) with Ashford Trust and Braemar;
projected capital expenditures; and
the impact of technology on our operations and business.
Forward-looking statements are based on certain assumptions, discuss future expectations, describe future plans and strategies, contain financial and operating projections or state other forward-looking information. Our ability to predict results or the actual effect of future events, actions, plans or strategies is inherently uncertain. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in our forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, taking into account all information currently available to us, our actual results and performance could differ materially from those set forth in our forward-looking statements. Factors that could have a material adverse effect on our forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to:
the factors referenced, including those set forth under the sections captioned “Item 1. Business,” “Item 1A. Risk Factors,” “Item 3. Legal Proceedings,” and “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Conditions and Results of Operations;”
adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a significant reduction in business and personal travel and potential travel restrictions in regions where our clients’ hotels are located, and one or more possible recurrences of COVID-19 cases causing a further reduction in business and personal travel and potential reinstatement of travel restrictions by state or local governments;
3


actions by our clients’ lenders to accelerate loan balances and foreclose on our clients’ hotel properties that are security for our clients’ loans that are in default;
uncertainty associated with the ability of the Company to remain in compliance with all covenants in our Term Loan Agreement and our subsidiaries to remain in compliance with the covenants of their debt and related agreements;
general volatility of the capital markets, the general economy or the hospitality industry, whether the result of market events or otherwise, and the market price of our common stock;
availability, terms and deployment of capital;
changes in our industry and the market in which we operate, interest rates or the general economy;
the degree and nature of our competition;
actual and potential conflicts of interest with or between Ashford Trust and Braemar, our executive officers and our non-independent directors;
availability of qualified personnel;
changes in governmental regulations, accounting rules, tax rates and similar matters;
legislative and regulatory changes;
the timing and outcome of the SEC investigation;
the possibility that we may not realize any or all of the anticipated benefits from transactions to acquire businesses, including the 2018 acquisition of Premier and the 2019 acquisition of Remington, and the possibility we will be required to record additional goodwill impairments relating to Remington as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our clients’, and our, business;
the possibility that the lodging industry may not fully recover to pre-pandemic levels as a result of the acceptance of “work-from-home” business practices and potentially lasting increased adoption of remote meeting and collaboration technologies;
the possibility that we may not realize any or all of the anticipated benefits from our business initiatives, including the ERFP Agreements with Ashford Trust and Braemar;
the failure to make full dividend payments on our Series D Convertible Preferred Stock in consecutive quarters, which would result in a higher interest rate and the right of Mr. Monty J. Bennett and Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr. to each have the right to appoint one member to the Board until such arrearages are paid in full;
disruptions relating to the acquisition or integration of Premier, Remington or any other business we invest in or acquire, which may harm relationships with customers, employees and regulators; and
unexpected costs of further goodwill impairments relating to the acquisition or integration of Remington or any other business we invest in or acquire.
When considering forward-looking statements, you should keep in mind the risk factors and other cautionary statements in this annual report. The matters summarized under “Item 1A. Risk Factors” and elsewhere, could cause our actual results and performance to differ significantly from those contained in our forward-looking statements. Accordingly, we cannot guarantee future results or performance. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any of these forward-looking statements, which reflect our views as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Furthermore, we do not intend to update any of our forward-looking statements after the date of this annual report to conform these statements to actual results and performance, except as may be required by applicable law.
4


PART I
Item 1. Business
Our Company and Our Business Strategy
Ashford Inc. is a Nevada corporation that provides products and services primarily to clients in the hospitality industry, including Ashford Trust and Braemar. We became a public company in November 2014, and our common stock is listed on the NYSE American. As of December 31, 2020, Mr. Monty J. Bennett, Ashford Inc.’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and the Chairman of Ashford Trust and Braemar, and his father, Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr., Chairman Emeritus of Ashford Trust, owned approximately 597,006 shares of our common stock, which represented an approximately 20.8% ownership interest in Ashford Inc., and owned 18,758,600 shares of our Series D Convertible Preferred Stock (the “Series D Convertible Preferred Stock”), which is exercisable (at an exercise price of $117.50 per share) into an additional approximate 3,991,191 shares of Ashford Inc. common stock, which if exercised as of December 31, 2020 would have increased Mr. Monty J. Bennett and Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr.’s ownership interest in Ashford Inc. to 66.9%.
We provide: (i) advisory services; (ii) asset management services; (iii) hotel management services; (iv) project management services; (v) event technology and creative communications solutions; (vi) mobile room keys and keyless entry solutions; (vii) watersports activities and other travel, concierge and transportation services; (viii) hypoallergenic premium room products and services; (ix) debt placement and related services; (x) real estate advisory and brokerage services; and (xi) wholesaler, dealer manager and other broker-dealer services. We conduct these activities and own substantially all of our assets primarily through Ashford LLC, Ashford Services and their respective subsidiaries.
We seek to grow through the implementation of two primary strategies: (i) increasing our assets under management; and (ii) pursuing third-party business to grow our other products and services businesses.
Advisory Services. We are currently the advisor for Ashford Trust and Braemar. In our capacity as the advisor to Ashford Trust and Braemar, we are responsible for implementing the investment strategies and managing the day-to-day operations of Ashford Trust and Braemar and their respective hotels from an ownership perspective, in each case subject to the respective advisory agreements and the supervision and oversight of the respective boards of directors of Ashford Trust and Braemar. Ashford Trust is focused on investing in full-service hotels in the upscale and upper upscale segments in the U.S. that have revenue per available room (“RevPAR”) generally less than twice the national average. Braemar invests primarily in luxury hotels and resorts with RevPAR of at least twice the U.S. national average. Each of Ashford Trust and Braemar is a real estate investment trust (“REIT”) as defined in the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Internal Revenue Code”), and the common stock of each of Ashford Trust and Braemar is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”).
We provide the personnel and services that we believe are necessary for each of Ashford Trust and Braemar to conduct their respective businesses. We may also perform similar functions for new or additional platforms. In our capacity as an advisor, we are not responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the individual hotel properties owned by either Ashford Trust or Braemar, which duties are, and will continue to be, the responsibility of the hotel management companies that operate the hotel properties owned by Ashford Trust and Braemar. Additionally, Remington, which we acquired on November 6, 2019, operates certain of the hotel properties owned by Ashford Trust and Braemar.
In our advisory services business, we earn advisory fees from each company that we advise. The fees earned from each company that we advise include a base fee, payable in cash, on a monthly basis, for managing the respective day-to-day operations of the companies that we advise and the day-to-day operations of their respective hotels from an ownership perspective, in each case in conformity with the respective investment guidelines of such client. The base fee is determined as a percentage of each client’s total market capitalization, subject to a minimum fee. We may also be entitled to receive an incentive fee, payable in cash or a combination of cash and stock, from each of Ashford Trust and Braemar based on their respective out-performance of their peers, as measured by the annual total stockholder return of such company compared to its peers. Incentive advisory fees are measured annually in each year that Ashford Trust’s and/or Braemar’s annual total stockholder return exceeds the average annual total stockholder return for each company’s respective peer group, subject to the Fixed Charge Coverage Ratio Condition (the “FCCR Condition”), and is defined in the respective advisory agreements. Incentive advisory fees, measured with respect to a particular year, are paid over a three-year period, beginning on January 15 immediately following the year of measurement, and each payment is subject to the FCCR Condition, which relates to the ratio of adjusted EBITDA to fixed charges for Ashford Trust or Braemar, as applicable. For the year ended December 31, 2020, we earned advisory services revenues of $34.7 million and $10.0 million from Ashford Trust and Braemar, respectively, of which $0 were incentive fees. For the year ended December 31, 2019, we earned advisory services revenues of $32.5 million and $11.7 million from Ashford Trust and Braemar, respectively, of which $0 and $678,000 respectively, were incentive fees.
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Asset Management Services. We currently provide asset management services to Ashford Trust and Braemar. Our strategic approach of designating at least one asset manager to each property allows us to leverage our extensive portfolio of subject matter experts, including asset management, revenue optimization, capital management, legal and risk management, data analysis and property tax. Our fees for asset management services are included in advisory fees as noted above.
Hotel Management Services. We currently provide hotel management services to 68 hotels owned by Ashford Trust and three hotels owned by Braemar through our subsidiary, Remington. Hotel management services consist of hotel operations, sales and marketing, revenue management, budget oversight, guest service, asset maintenance (not involving capital expenditures) and related services.
In our hotel management business, Remington receives a base management fee based on gross revenues for each hotel, subject to a specified floor (which is subject to increase annually based on increases in the consumer price index). Additionally, if a hotel meets and exceeds various thresholds based on hotel revenues and certain profitability targets, Remington receives an incentive fee. We acquired our hotel management business on November 6, 2019. For the year ended December 31, 2020, we earned hotel management revenues of $15.9 million and $1.0 million from Ashford Trust and Braemar, respectively. For the period from November 6, 2019 to December 31, 2019, we earned hotel management revenues of $4.2 million and $286,000 from Ashford Trust and Braemar, respectively.
Project Management Services. We currently provide project management services to substantially all of the hotels owned by Ashford Trust and Braemar and third-party clients, through our subsidiary, Premier. Project management services provided by Premier consist of construction management, interior design, architecture, and the purchasing, expediting, warehousing, freight management, installation and supervision of property and equipment and related services.
In our project management business, Premier receives a project management fee equal to a percentage of the total project costs (both hard and soft) associated with the implementation of the capital improvement budget. In addition, Premier receives additional fees for project services based upon the applicable rate stated in the respective project management agreement. We acquired our project management business on August 8, 2018. For the year ended December 31, 2020, we earned project management revenues of $5.0 million, $2.1 million and $1.8 million from Ashford Trust, Braemar and third-party clients, respectively. For the year ended December 31, 2019, we earned project management revenues of $16.6 million, $8.5 million and $450,000 from Ashford Trust, Braemar and third-party clients, respectively.
Event Technology and Creative Communications Solutions. We currently provide event technology and creative communications solutions to third party clients, through our subsidiary, Presentation Technologies LLC (“JSAV”).
JSAV generates revenue from third-party clients in various forms depending on the particular product or service provided and the generally accepted market conditions for pricing such products or services. For the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 we earned audio visual revenues of $37.9 million and $110.6 million, respectively, through JSAV. JSAV primarily contracts directly with customers to whom it provides audio visual services. JSAV recognizes the gross revenue collected from their customers by the hosting hotel or venue.

Mobile Room Keys and Keyless Entry Solutions. We currently provide mobile room keys and keyless entry solutions to Ashford Trust and Braemar, as well as to third-party clients, through our subsidiary, OpenKey, Inc. (“OpenKey”).

OpenKey generates revenue from Ashford Trust, Braemar and third-party clients in various forms depending on the particular product or service provided and the generally accepted market conditions for pricing such products or services. For the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, we earned revenue of $1.5 million and $987,000, respectively, through OpenKey.

Watersports Activities, Travel, Concierge and Transportation Services. We currently provide watersports, travel, concierge and transportation services to Ashford Trust and Braemar, as well as to third-party clients, through our subsidiary, RED Hospitality & Leisure LLC (“RED”).

RED generates revenue from Ashford Trust, Braemar and third-party clients in various forms depending on the particular product or service provided and the generally accepted market conditions for pricing such products or services. For the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, we earned revenue of $9.7 million and $9.4 million, respectively, through RED.

Hypoallergenic Premium Room Products and Services. We currently provide hypoallergenic premium room products and services to Ashford Trust, Braemar and third-party clients through our subsidiary, PRE Opco LLC (“Pure Wellness”).

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Pure Wellness generates revenue from Ashford Trust, Braemar and third-party clients in various forms depending on the particular product or service provided and the generally accepted market conditions for pricing such products or services. For the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, we earned revenue of $1.9 million and $3.1 million, respectively, through Pure Wellness.

Debt Placement and Related Services. We currently provide debt placement and related services to Ashford Trust and Braemar through our subsidiary, Lismore.

In our debt placement and related services business, Lismore typically earns a fee equal to a percentage of the amount of debt sourced by Lismore. For the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, we earned revenue of $8.4 million and $2.0 million, respectively, through Lismore.

Real Estate Advisory and Brokerage Services. We currently provide real estate advisory and brokerage services to Ashford Trust, Braemar and third-party clients through our subsidiary, in which we hold a noncontrolling interest, Real Estate Advisory Holdings LLC (“REA Holdings”).

REA Holdings, through its operating subsidiary, generates revenue from Ashford Trust, Braemar and third-party clients in various forms depending on the particular product or service provided and the generally accepted market conditions for pricing such products or services.

Broker-Dealer Services. We currently provide wholesaler, dealer manager and other broker-dealer services to Braemar and one or more subsidiaries of the Company through our subsidiary, Ashford Securities LLC (“Ashford Securities”).

Ashford Securities generates revenue in various forms depending on the particular product or service provided and the generally accepted market conditions for pricing such products or services. For the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, we earned cost reimbursement revenue of $2.7 million and $1.2 million, respectively, through Ashford Securities.
Our Advisory Agreements
We advise Ashford Trust and Braemar pursuant to our advisory agreements. The provisions of the two advisory agreements are substantially similar, except as otherwise described below. The following summary of the terms of our advisory agreements does not purport to be complete and is subject to and qualified in its entirety by reference to a copy of the actual agreements, as amended, entered into with Ashford Trust or Braemar, which have been included as exhibits to other documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) and incorporated by reference in this Form 10-K.
General. Pursuant to our advisory agreements with Ashford Trust and Braemar, we provide, or obtain on their behalf, the personnel and services necessary for each of these entities to conduct its respective business, as they have no employees of their own. All of the officers of each of Ashford Trust and Braemar are our employees. We are not obligated to dedicate any of our employees exclusively to either Ashford Trust or Braemar, nor are we or our employees obligated to dedicate any specific portion of time to the business of either Ashford Trust or Braemar, except as necessary to perform the service required of us in our capacity as the advisor to such entities. The advisory agreements require us to manage the business affairs of each of Ashford Trust and Braemar in conformity with the policies and the guidelines that are approved and monitored by the boards of such entities. Additionally, we must refrain from taking any action that would (a) adversely affect the status of Ashford Trust or Braemar as a REIT, (b) subject us to regulation under the Investment Company Act, (c) knowingly and intentionally violate any law, rule or regulation of any governmental body or agency having jurisdiction over us, (d) violate any of the rules or regulations of any exchange on which our securities are listed or (e) violate the charter, bylaws or resolutions of the board of directors of each of Ashford Trust and Braemar, all as in effect from time to time. So long as we are the advisor to Braemar, Braemar’s governing documents permit us to designate persons as candidates for election as director at any stockholder meeting of Braemar at which directors are to be elected. Such nominees may be our executive officers.
Our Duties as Advisor. Subject to the supervision of the respective boards of directors of each of Ashford Trust and Braemar, we are responsible for, among other duties: (1) performing and administering the day-to-day operations of Ashford Trust and Braemar, including all of the subsidiaries and joint ventures of such entities; (2) all services relating to the acquisition, disposition and financing of hotels; (3) performing asset management duties; (4) engaging and supervising, on behalf of such companies, third parties to provide various services including but not limited to overseeing development management, hotel management, and other professional services; and (5) performing corporate governance and other management functions, including financial, capital markets, treasury, financial reporting, internal audit, accounting, tax and risk management services, SEC and regulatory compliance, and retention of legal counsel, auditors and other professional advisors, as well as other duties and services outlined in the advisory agreements.
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Any increase in the scope of duties or services to be provided by us must be jointly approved by us and either Ashford Trust or Braemar, as applicable, and is subject to additional compensation as outlined in the advisory agreements.
We are the sole and exclusive provider of asset management, project management and other services offered by us, for each of Ashford Trust and Braemar. At any time that Ashford Trust or Braemar desires to engage a third party for the performance of services or delivery of products, we have the exclusive right to provide such service or product at market rates.
We also have the power to delegate all or any part of our rights and powers to manage and control the business and affairs of such companies to such officers, employees, affiliates, agents and representatives of ours or such company as we may deem appropriate. Any authority delegated by us to any other person is subject to the limitations on our rights and powers specifically set forth in the advisory agreement or the charter of such company.
We require our employees and officers who provide services to the companies we advise to comply with the codes and the policies of such companies.
On January 14, 2021, the Company entered into the Second Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement, by and between Ashford Trust, Ashford Trust OP, Ashford TRS Corporation, the Company and Ashford LLC. The Second Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement amends and restates the terms of the Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement, dated as of June 10, 2015, as amended by the Enhanced Return Funding Program Agreement and Amendment No. 1 to the Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement, dated as of June 26, 2018 (the “Ashford Trust ERFP Agreement”). The terms of the Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement were set forth under the heading “Our Advisory Agreements” in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019 and are incorporated by reference herein. The Second Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement, among other things, provides for the following revised terms:
Term. The Second Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement replaced the existing perpetual term with an initial 10-year term, subject to an extension by the Company for up to 7 successive additional 10-year renewal terms which such extensions shall permit either party to elect to renegotiate the fees to be charged pursuant to the Second Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement.
Termination. Ashford Trust is no longer permitted to terminate the Second Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement (i) at the end of each initial or renewal term based on Ashford Trust’s and the Company’s inability to find a resolution on the fees to be charged, based upon the then current market for such fees or (ii) upon a change of control of the Company. Additionally, the Second Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement includes certain clarifying language, including provisions making clear that in the event a tender offer, voting event or agreement that, upon consummation, would constitute a Company Change of Control (as defined in the Second Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement) is terminated, any amounts deposited into the Termination Fee Escrow Account may be disbursed to Ashford Trust.
Subordination and Deferral of Fees. The Company agreed to subordinate its interest in the termination fee to Ashford Trust’s lenders to the extent, on or before the first anniversary of the Second Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement, Ashford Trust enters into a loan agreement pursuant to which Ashford Trust agrees to pledge all or substantially all of its assets to the lenders thereunder. Additionally, the Company agreed to defer the portion of base fees and incentive fees pursuant to the Second Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement that exceed 80% of the amount of such fees paid by Ashford Trust to the Company for advisory services rendered during 2019 until the later of (i) 2 years after the date of an applicable loan entered into by Ashford Trust and (ii) such time as all capitalized interest under the applicable loan has been paid in full.
Payment of Fees. The percentage used to calculate the base fee is now fixed at 0.70% such that the base fee payable on a monthly basis will be an amount equal to 1/12th of the sum of (i) 0.70% of the Total Market Capitalization (as defined in the Second Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement) of Ashford Trust for the prior month, plus (ii) the Net Asset Fee Adjustment (as defined in the Second Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement), if any, on the last day of the prior month during which the Second Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement was in effect; provided, however, in no event shall the base fee for any month be less than the Trust Minimum Base Fee (as defined below).
Peer Group. The list of peer group members has been revised to remove certain companies which no longer exist.
Liquidated Damages. Upon a Liquidated Damages Event (as defined in the Second Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement) Ashford Trust shall pay to the Company the Liquidated Damages Amount (as defined in the Second Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement), which amount, less any outstanding amount owed by the Company to Ashford Trust as a result of a judgment, plus reimbursable costs and expenses, shall be deemed liquidated damages and the parties shall have no further obligations under the Second Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement.
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Consolidated Tangible Net Worth. The requirement that Ashford Trust maintain a minimum Consolidated Tangible Net Worth (as defined in the Second Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement) have been suspended until the first fiscal quarter beginning after June 30, 2023.
Officers. The concept of a “Designated CEO” was removed, such that in the event the board of directors of Ashford Trust elects to appoint a chief executive officer who was not an individual made available by the Company pursuant to the Second Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement, such officer made available by the Company will no longer be entitled to any role or responsibilities with Ashford Trust.
Company Change of Control. The sale or disposition by Ashford Trust of assets which would constitute a Company Change of Control was revised in order to provide Ashford Trust additional flexibility to dispose of underperforming assets negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. A Company Change of Control will include, from the date of the Second Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement (the “Effective Date”) until the first anniversary thereof, the consummation of a sale or disposition by Ashford Trust of assets constituting 40% of the gross book value of Ashford Trust’s assets, exclusive of assets sold or contributed to a platform also advised by the Company (but including certain assets which were foreclosed upon or otherwise returned to Ashford Trust’s lenders during 2020). In addition, Ashford Trust clarified its existing language such that, commencing after the first anniversary of the Effective Date, the consummation of a sale or disposition by Ashford Trust of assets constituting 20% of the gross book value of Ashford Trust’s assets over any one-year period, or the consummation of a sale or disposition by Ashford Trust of assets constituting 30% of the gross book value of Ashford Trust’s assets over any three-year period, exclusive in each case of assets sold or contributed to a platform also advised by the Company, would constitute a change of control. Additionally, a change in the majority composition of the board of directors of Ashford Trust shall no longer be considered a Company Change of Control.
Project Management Fees. Ashford Trust and the Company agreed to cause the master project management agreement (the “Ashford Trust Project Management Agreement”), dated as of August 8, 2018, by and among Ashford Trust TRS, Ashford Trust OP, RI Manchester Tenant Corporation, CY Manchester Tenant Corporation and Premier, to have a 10-year initial term commencing on the Effective Date and shall cause the project management and related fees to be paid to Premier thereunder to conform to the predetermined fee schedule attached to the Second Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement.
Certain additional revisions were made in line with market practice and to more closely reflect the advisory terms between the Company and Braemar.
ERFP Agreements
General. On June 26, 2018, the Company entered into the Ashford Trust ERFP Agreement with Ashford Trust. The independent members of the board of directors of each of the Company and Ashford Trust, with the assistance of separate and independent legal counsel, engaged to negotiate the Ashford Trust ERFP Agreement on behalf of the Company and Ashford Trust, respectively. On January 15, 2019, the Company entered into the Enhanced Return Funding Program Agreement and Amendment No. 1 to the Fifth Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement (the “Braemar ERFP Agreement” and, together with the Ashford Trust ERFP Agreement, the “ERFP Agreements”) with Braemar. The independent members of the board of directors of each of the Company and Braemar, with the assistance of separate and independent legal counsel, engaged to negotiate the Braemar ERFP Agreement on behalf of the Company and Braemar, respectively. The ERFP Agreements replaced the “key money investments” previously contemplated by the respective advisory agreements with each of Ashford Trust and Braemar.
Under the ERFP Agreements, the Company agreed to provide $50 million (each, an “Aggregate ERFP Amount” and collectively, the “Aggregate ERFP Amounts”) to each of Ashford Trust and Braemar (collectively, the “REITs”), respectively, in connection with each such REIT’s acquisition of hotels recommended by us, with the option to increase each Aggregate ERFP Amount to up to $100 million upon mutual agreement by the parties to the respective ERFP Agreement. Under each of the ERFP Agreements, the Company will pay each REIT 10% of each acquired hotel’s purchase price in exchange for furniture, fixtures and equipment (“FF&E”) at a property owned by such REIT, which will be subsequently leased by us to such REIT rent-free. Upon expiration of any such rent-free lease, Ashford LLC shall convey the applicable FF&E to the Applicable TRS in exchange for the fair market value thereof, payable in cash by the Applicable TRS. Each of the REITs must provide reasonable advance notice to the Company to request ERFP funds in accordance with the respective ERFP Agreement. The ERFP Agreements require that the Company acquire the related FF&E either at the time of the property acquisition or at any time generally within two years of the REITs acquisition of the hotel property. The Company recognizes the related depreciation tax deduction at the time such FF&E is purchased by the Company and placed into service at the respective REIT’s hotel properties. However, the timing of the FF&E being purchased and placed into service is subject to uncertainties outside of the Company’s control that could delay the realization of any tax benefit associated with the purchase of FF&E.
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Ashford Trust’s 2018 ERFP Acquisitions. In connection with Ashford Trust’s acquisition of the Hilton Old Town Alexandria on June 29, 2018 and La Posada de Santa Fe on October 31, 2018, the Company was committed to provide Ashford Trust with approximately $11.1 million and $5.0 million, respectively, in exchange for FF&E at Ashford Trust properties, in each case subject to the terms of the Ashford Trust ERFP Agreement. The $16.1 million total of FF&E was purchased by us and leased by us to Ashford Trust effective December 31, 2018. As of December 31, 2018, the Company had no remaining 2018 ERFP commitments to Ashford Trust.

Ashford Trust’s 2019 ERFP Acquisitions. In connection with Ashford Trust’s acquisition of The Embassy Suites New York Manhattan Times Square on January 23, 2019, and the Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley on February 26, 2019, the Company was committed to provide Ashford Trust with approximately $19.5 million and $5.0 million, respectively, in exchange for FF&E at Ashford Trust properties, in each case subject to the terms of the Ashford Trust ERFP Agreement. During the year ended December 31, 2019, $13.1 million of FF&E was purchased by us and leased by us to Ashford Trust related to Ashford Trust’s 2019 ERFP acquisitions. As of December 31, 2019, the Company had $11.4 million remaining on its 2019 ERFP commitments to Ashford Trust. On March 13, 2020, the Company entered into the Extension Agreement (the “Extension Agreement”), related to the Ashford Trust ERFP Agreement. Under the terms of the Extension Agreement, the remaining ERFP commitment funding deadline under the Ashford Trust ERFP Agreement of $11.4 million as of December 31, 2019 was extended from January 22, 2021 to December 31, 2022. On November 25, 2020, the independent members of the board of directors of Ashford Trust granted Ashford Inc., in its sole and absolute discretion, the right to set-off against The Embassy Suites New York Manhattan Times Square remaining ERFP balance, the fees pursuant to the Ashford Trust advisory agreement and Ashford Trust Agreement (as defined below) that have been or may be deferred by Ashford Inc. As of December 31, 2020, such right to set-off had not been exercised and the Company had $11.4 million remaining on its 2019 ERFP commitments to Ashford Trust. On January 15, 2021, the Company received $14.4 million from Ashford Trust in full payment of all previously deferred fees.

Braemar’s 2019 ERFP Acquisitions. In connection with Braemar’s acquisition of The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe on January 15, 2019, the Company was committed to provide Braemar with approximately $10.3 million in exchange for FF&E at Braemar properties, subject to the terms of the Braemar ERFP Agreement. During the year ended December 31, 2019, $10.3 million of FF&E was purchased by us and leased by us to Braemar related to Braemar’s 2019 ERFP acquisitions. As of December 31, 2019, the Company had no remaining 2019 ERFP commitment to Braemar.
Conditions to Funding. The Company (and its operating company Ashford LLC) shall have no obligation to provide any enhanced return investment in the event that (i) Ashford Trust, Braemar or any of Ashford Trust’s or Braemar’s subsidiaries, as applicable, has materially breached any provision of the applicable advisory agreement (provided that Ashford Trust and Braemar shall be entitled to cure any such breach prior to the applicable date of required acquisition of FF&E), (ii) any event or condition has occurred or is reasonably likely to occur which would give rise to a right of termination in favor of the Company under the applicable advisory agreement or the applicable ERFP Agreement, (iii) there would exist, immediately after such proposed enhanced return investment, a Sold ERFP Asset Amount (as defined in the applicable ERFP Agreement), or (iv) (a) Ashford LLC’s Unrestricted Cash Balance (as defined below) is, after taking into account the cash amount anticipated to be required for the proposed enhanced return investment, less than fifteen million dollars ($15,000,000) (the “Cash Threshold”) as of one week after the date that Ashford Trust OP or Braemar OP, respectively, requires that Ashford LLC commit to fund an enhanced return investment with respect to an Enhanced Return Hotel Asset (as defined in the applicable ERFP Agreement) or (b) Ashford LLC reasonably expects, in light of its then-anticipated contractual funding commitments (including amounts committed pursuant to the ERFP Agreements but not yet paid) and cash flows, to have an Unrestricted Cash Balance that is less than the Cash Threshold immediately after the expected date of closing of the purchase of the Enhanced Return Hotel Asset.
For purposes of each of the ERFP Agreements, “Unrestricted Cash Balance” means, unrestricted cash of Ashford LLC; provided, that any cash or working capital of the Company or its other subsidiaries, including without limitation, Ashford Services, shall be included in the calculation of “Unrestricted Cash Balance” if such funds have been contributed, transferred or loaned from Ashford LLC to Ashford Services or such other subsidiaries for the purpose of avoiding, hindering or delaying Ashford LLC’s obligations under the applicable ERFP Agreement (it being understood that good faith loans or advances to, or investments in, Ashford Services’ or such other subsidiaries’ existing business or new services or other businesses, or the provision of working capital to Ashford Services or such other subsidiaries generally consistent with Ashford Services’ or such other subsidiaries past practices, shall not be deemed to have been made for the purpose of avoiding, hindering or delaying Ashford LLC’s obligations under the applicable ERFP Agreement).
Repayment Events. With respect to any acquisition of FF&E by Ashford LLC pursuant to the applicable ERFP Agreement, if prior to the date that is two years after such acquisition, (i) Ashford Trust or Braemar, as applicable, is subject to a Company Change of Control (as defined in the applicable advisory agreement) or (ii) Ashford Trust, Braemar or the Company terminates the applicable advisory agreement and Ashford Trust or Braemar is required to pay the Termination Fee thereunder (each of
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clauses (i) and (ii), a “Repayment Event”), Ashford Trust OP or Braemar OP, as applicable, shall pay to Ashford LLC an amount equal to 100% of any enhanced return investments actually funded by Ashford LLC during such two-year period.
Disposition of Enhanced Return Hotel Assets. If Ashford Trust OP or Braemar OP, respectively, or their subsidiaries dispose of or cause to be disposed any Enhanced Return Hotel Asset or other real property with respect to which Ashford LLC owns FF&E, including by way of a foreclosure or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure by a mortgage or mezzanine lender of Ashford Trust OP or Braemar OP, respectively, or their subsidiaries, Ashford Trust or Braemar, as applicable, shall promptly identify, and Ashford LLC shall acquire in exchange for such FF&E, FF&E for use at another real property asset leased by the applicable taxable REIT subsidiary (“TRS”) and with a fair market value equal to the value of such FF&E as established in connection with such disposition.
Term. The initial term of each ERFP Agreement is two years (the “Initial Term”), which begins on June 26, 2018 in the case of Ashford Trust and January 19, 2019 in the case of Braemar, unless earlier terminated pursuant to the terms of the ERFP Agreement. At the end of the Initial Term, the ERFP Agreement shall automatically renew for successive one year periods (each such period a “Renewal Term”) unless either the Company or Ashford Trust or Braemar, as applicable, provides written notice to the other at least 60 days in advance of the expiration of the Initial Term or Renewal Term, as applicable, that such notifying party intends not to renew the ERFP Agreement. The ERFP Agreement may be terminated by the Company or Ashford Trust or Braemar, as applicable, in the event such party has a right to terminate the advisory agreement or by the Company in the event that the Company is entitled to transfer cash owned by Ashford Trust but controlled by the Company to the termination fee escrow account under the applicable advisory agreement. The amendments to the applicable advisory agreement set forth in the ERFP Agreements shall continue in force notwithstanding any termination of the ERFP Agreements.
Relationship with Ashford Trust and Braemar. We advise both Ashford Trust and Braemar. We are also permitted to have other advisory clients, which may include other REITs operating in the real estate industry or having the same or substantially similar investment guidelines as Ashford Trust or Braemar. If either Ashford Trust or Braemar materially revises its initial investment guidelines without our express written consent, we are required only to use our best judgment to allocate investment opportunities to Braemar, Ashford Trust and other entities we advise, taking into account such factors as we deem relevant, in our discretion, subject to any of our then existing obligations to such other entities. Braemar has agreed not to revise its initial investment guidelines to be directly competitive with Ashford Trust. Ashford Trust agrees, pursuant to the terms of the Ashford Trust advisory agreement, that it will revise its investment guidelines as necessary to avoid direct competition with (i) any entity or platform that Ashford Trust may create or spin-off in the future and (ii) any other entity advised by us, provided that in the case of clause (ii), we and Ashford Trust mutually agree to the terms of such revision of Ashford Trust’s investment guidelines. The advisory agreements give each of Ashford Trust and Braemar the right to equitable treatment with respect to other clients of ours, but the advisory agreements do not give any entity the right to preferential treatment, except as follows:
Any new individual investment opportunities that satisfy Ashford Trust’s investment guidelines will be presented to its board of directors, which has up to 10 business days to accept any such opportunity prior to it being available to Braemar or another business advised by us.
Any new individual investment opportunities that satisfy Braemar’s investment guidelines will be presented to its board of directors, which has up to 10 business days to accept any such opportunity prior to it being available to Ashford Trust or another business advised by us.
To minimize conflicts between Ashford Trust and Braemar, the advisory agreements require each such entity to designate an investment focus by targeted RevPAR, segments, markets and other factors or financial metrics. After consultation with us, such entity may modify or supplement its investment guidelines from time to time by giving written notice to us; however, if either Ashford Trust or Braemar materially changes its investment guidelines without our express written consent, we are required only to use our best judgment to allocate investment opportunities to Ashford Trust, Braemar and other entities we may advise, taking into account such factors as we deem relevant, in our discretion, subject to any then existing obligations we have to such other entities.
When determining whether an asset satisfies the investment guidelines of either Ashford Trust or Braemar, we must make a good faith determination of projected RevPAR, taking into account historical RevPAR as well as such additional considerations as conversions or reposition of assets, capital plans, brand changes and other factors that may reasonably be forecasted to raise RevPAR after stabilization of such initiative.
If Ashford Trust or Braemar elect to spin-off, carve-out, split-off or otherwise consummate a transfer of a division or subset of assets for the purpose of forming a joint venture, a newly created private platform or a new publicly traded company to hold such division or subset of assets constituting a distinct asset type and/or investment guidelines, Ashford Trust and Braemar have agreed that any such new entity will be advised by us pursuant to an advisory agreement containing substantially the same material terms set forth in our advisory agreement with Ashford Trust or Braemar, as applicable.
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Limitations on Liability and Indemnification. The advisory agreements provide that we have no responsibility other than to render the services and take the actions described in the advisory agreements in good faith and with the exercise of due care and are not responsible for any action the board of directors of either Ashford Trust or Braemar takes in following or declining to follow any advice from us. The advisory agreements provide that we, and our officers, directors, managers, employees and members, will not be liable for any act or omission by us (or our officers, directors, managers, employees or members) performed in accordance with and pursuant to the advisory agreements, except by reason of acts constituting gross negligence, bad faith, willful misconduct or reckless disregard of our duties under the applicable advisory agreement.
Each of Ashford Trust and Braemar has agreed to indemnify and hold us harmless (including our partners, directors, officers, stockholders, managers, members, agents, employees and each other person or entity, if any, controlling us) to the full extent lawful, from and against any and all losses, claims, damages or liabilities of any nature whatsoever with respect to or arising from any acts or omission by us (including ordinary negligence) in our capacity as advisor, except with respect to losses, claims, damages or liabilities with respect to or arising out of our gross negligence, bad faith or willful misconduct, or reckless disregard of our duties set forth in the applicable advisory agreement (for which we have indemnified Ashford Trust or Braemar, as applicable).
Term and Termination of our Advisory Agreement with Ashford Trust. The term of our advisory agreement with Ashford Trust is 10 years, commencing from the effective date of the Second Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement on January 14, 2021, subject to an extension by the Company for up to 7 successive additional 10-year renewal terms thereafter. The board of directors of Ashford Trust will review our performance and fees annually and, following the 10-year initial term, may elect to renegotiate the amount of fees payable under our advisory agreement in certain circumstances. Additionally, if Ashford Trust undergoes a change of control transaction, Ashford Trust will have the right to terminate the advisory agreement with the payment of the termination fee described below. If Ashford Trust terminates the advisory agreement without cause or upon a change of control, Ashford Trust will be required to pay us all fees and expense reimbursements due and owing through the date of termination as well as a termination fee equal to 1.1 times the greater of either:
12 multiplied by our Net Earnings for the 12-month period preceding the termination date of our advisory agreement. For purposes of this calculation, “Net Earnings” is defined in the advisory agreement as (A) our reported Adjusted EBITDA (as defined in the advisory agreement) attributable to the advisory agreement for the 12-month period preceding the termination of the advisory agreement (adjusted to assume the advisory agreement was in place for the full 12-month period if it otherwise was not), as reported in our earnings releases less (B) our pro forma Adjusted EBITDA (as defined in the advisory agreement) assuming our advisory agreement was not in place during such period plus (C) all EBITDA (Net Income (per Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”) plus interest expenses, income taxes, depreciation and amortization) of ours and any of our affiliates and subsidiaries from providing any service or product to Ashford Trust, its operating partnership or any of its affiliates or subsidiaries, exclusive of EBITDA directly resulting from the advisory agreement;
the earnings multiple (calculated as our total enterprise value divided by our adjusted EBITDA) for our common stock per the 12-month period preceding the termination date multiplied by our Net Earnings (as defined above) for the 12 months preceding the termination; or
the simple average of our earnings multiples for the three fiscal years preceding the termination (calculated as our total enterprise value divided by our adjusted EBITDA for such periods) multiplied by our Net Earnings (as defined above) for the 12 months preceding the termination;
plus, in either case, a gross-up amount for federal and state tax liability, based on an assumed combined tax rate of 40%. Any such termination fee will be payable on or before the termination date.
The Company has agreed that its right to receive fees payable under the advisory agreement, including the termination fee and liquidated damages, shall be subordinate under certain circumstances to the payment in full of obligations under Ashford Trust’s senior secured credit facility with Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. (“Oaktree”) and has agreed to enter into documents necessary to subordinate the Company’s interest in such fees. On January 15, 2021, the Company, together with certain affiliated entities, entered into a Subordination and Non-Disturbance Agreement (“SNDA”) pursuant to which the Company agreed to subordinate to the prior repayment in full of all obligations under Ashford Trust’s senior secured credit facility with Oaktree, among other items, (1) advisory fees (other than reimbursable expenses) in excess of 80% of such fees paid during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, and (2) any termination fee or liquidated damages amounts under the advisory agreement, or any amount owed under any enhanced return funding program in connection with the termination of the advisory agreement or sale or foreclosure of assets financed thereunder.
Ashford Trust may also terminate the advisory agreement at any time, including during the 10-year initial term, without the payment of a termination fee, upon customary events of default and our failure to cure during certain cure periods, such as our
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default in performance of material obligations, the filing of bankruptcy or a dissolution action and other events, as outlined in the advisory agreement.
Upon any termination of the advisory agreement, we are required to cooperate with and assist Ashford Trust in executing an orderly transition of the management of its assets to a new advisor, providing a full accounting of all accounts held in the name of or on behalf of Ashford Trust, returning any funds held on behalf of Ashford Trust (other than the termination fee escrow account, if applicable) and returning any and all of the books and records of Ashford Trust.
The advisory agreement also provides that if: (i) Ashford Trust enters into a letter of intent or definitive agreement that upon consummation would constitute a change of control; (ii) the Ashford Trust board recommends that Ashford Trust’s stockholders accept a third party tender offer that would, if consummated, result in a third party beneficially owning 35% or more of Ashford Trust’s voting stock; or (iii) a third party otherwise becomes a beneficial owner of 35% or more of Ashford Trust voting stock, then we are entitled to transfer Ashford Trust cash to an escrow account in an amount sufficient to pay the termination fee and other amounts set forth in the advisory agreement.
Base Fees under our Advisory Agreement with Ashford Trust. Ashford Trust is required, on a monthly basis, to pay a fee (the “Base Fee”) in an amount equal to 1/12 of (i) 0.70% of the Total Market Capitalization (as defined below) of Ashford Trust for the prior month, plus (ii) the Net Asset Fee Adjustment (as defined below), if any, on the last day of the prior month during which the advisory agreement was in effect; provided, however in no event shall the Base Fee for any month be less than the Trust Minimum Base Fee (as defined below).

The “Total Market Capitalization” of Ashford Trust for any period is calculated as:

(a)    to the extent Ashford Trust common stock is listed for trading on a national securities exchange for every day during any period for which the Total Market Capitalization is to be calculated, the amount calculated as:
(i)    average of the volume-weighted average price per share of common stock for Ashford Trust for each trading day of the period (“Average VWAP”) multiplied by the average number of shares of common stock and common units outstanding during such applicable period, on a fully-diluted basis (assuming all common units and long term incentive partnership units in Ashford Trust OP that have achieved economic parity with common units in the applicable operating partnership have been converted into shares of common stock and including any shares of common stock issuable upon conversion of any convertible preferred stock where the conversion price is less than Average VWAP), plus
(ii)    the average for the applicable period of the aggregate principal amount of the consolidated indebtedness of Ashford Trust (including its proportionate share of debt of any entity that is not consolidated but excluding its joint venture partners’ proportionate share of consolidated debt), plus
(iii)    the average for the applicable period of the liquidation value of any outstanding preferred equity of Ashford Trust (excluding any convertible preferred stock where the conversion price is less than Average VWAP).
(b)    to the extent Ashford Trust common stock is not listed for trading on a national securities exchange (due to any reason, including but not limited to delisting by the New York Stock Exchange or the occurrence of a change of control) for any day during any period for which the Total Market Capitalization is to be calculated, the greater of: (i) the weighted average Gross Asset Value of all the Ashford Trust’s assets on each day during such period; or (ii) the Total Market Capitalization as calculated pursuant to paragraph (a) of this definition on the last day on which common stock was listed for trading on a national securities exchange, regardless of whether this day occurred during the applicable period.
“Gross Asset Value” shall mean, with respect to any of Ashford Trust’s assets as of any date, the undepreciated carrying value of all such assets including all cash and cash equivalents and capitalized leases and any property and equipment leased to subsidiaries of Ashford Trust to facilitate the purchase of any Ashford Trust Enhanced Return Hotel Asset (as defined below) as reflected on the most recent balance sheet and accompanying footnotes of Ashford Trust filed with the SEC or prepared by the Company in accordance with GAAP consistent with its performance of its duties under the advisory agreement without giving effect to any impairments plus the publicly disclosed purchase price (excluding any net working capital and transferred property and equipment reserves) of any assets acquired after the date of the most recent balance sheet and all capital expenditures made (to the extent not already reflected in the carrying value of the asset) with respect to an asset since the date of its acquisition for any improvements or for additions thereto, that have a useful life of more than one year and that are required to be capitalized under GAAP.
“Net Asset Fee Adjustment” shall be equal to (i) the product of the Sold Non-ERFP Asset Amount (as more particularly defined in the advisory agreement, but generally equal to the net sales prices of real property (other than any asset the purchase of which was funded in part by the Ashford Trust ERFP Agreement (“Ashford Trust Enhanced Return Hotel Assets”)) sold or
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disposed of after the date of the Ashford Trust ERFP Agreement, commencing with and including the first such sale) and 0.70% plus (ii) the product of the Sold ERFP Asset Amount (as more particularly defined in the advisory agreement, but generally equal to the net sales prices of Ashford Trust Enhanced Return Hotel Assets sold or disposed of after the date of the Ashford Trust ERFP Agreement, commencing with and including the first such sale) and 1.07%.
The “Trust Minimum Base Fee” for each month beginning January 1, 2021 or thereafter will be equal to the greater of:
(i)    90% of the base fee paid for the same month in the prior year; and
(ii)    1/12th of the “G&A ratio” for the most recently completed fiscal quarter multiplied by the Total Market Capitalization of Ashford Trust on the last balance sheet date included in Ashford Trust’s most recent Form 10-Q or Form 10-K filing.
The “G&A ratio” is calculated as the simple average of the ratios of total general and administrative expenses, including any dead deal costs, less any non-cash expenses, paid in the applicable quarter by each member of a select peer group, divided by the total market capitalization of such peer group member. The peer group for Ashford Trust may be adjusted from time-to-time by mutual agreement between us and a majority of the independent directors of Ashford Trust.
Term and Termination of our Advisory Agreement with Braemar. The initial stated term of our advisory agreement with Braemar is 10 years and will expire, unless otherwise extended or earlier terminated, on January 24, 2027. Our advisory agreement with Braemar provides for seven successive additional ten-year renewal terms upon written notice to Braemar, given at least 210 days prior to the expiration of the then current term. The advisory agreement may be terminated by Braemar, with no termination fee due and payable, under the following circumstances: (i) upon our conviction (including a plea or nolo contendere) by a court of competent jurisdiction of a felony; (ii) if we commit an act of fraud against Braemar, convert the funds of Braemar or act in a manner constituting gross negligence in the performance of our material duties under the advisory agreement (including a failure to act); (iii) if we undergo a Bankruptcy Event (as defined by the advisory agreement); or (iv) upon the entry by a court of a final non-appealable order awarding monetary damages to Braemar based on a finding that we committed a material breach or default of a material term, condition, obligation or covenant of the advisory agreement, which breach or default had a material adverse effect.
Upon the closing of a change of control with respect to Braemar (as defined in the advisory agreement), either party may terminate the advisory agreement, and Braemar will be required to pay us all fees and expense reimbursements due and owing through the date of termination as well as a termination fee equal to the greater of:
(i)    12 multiplied by (ii) the sum of (A) our Net Earnings (as defined below) for the 12-month period ending on the last day of the fiscal quarter preceding the termination date of our advisory agreement (“LTM Period”) and (B) to the extent not included in Net Earnings, any incentive fees under the advisory agreement that have accrued or are accelerated but have not yet been paid at the time of termination of the advisory agreement;
(ii)     the quotient of (A) our total market capitalization (as defined in the advisory agreement) on the trading day immediately preceding the date of payment of the termination fee, divided by (B) our Adjusted EBITDA for the LTM Period (which for purposes of this paragraph shall include the EBITDA (adjusted on a comparable basis to our Adjusted EBITDA)) for the same LTM Period of any person that we acquired a beneficial ownership interest in during the applicable measurement period, in the same proportion as our beneficial ownership of the acquired person, multiplied by (ii) Net Earnings for the LTM Period plus, to the extent not included in Net Earnings, any incentive fees under the advisory agreement that have accrued or are accelerated but have not yet been paid at the time of termination of the advisory agreement; and
(iii)     the simple average, for the three years preceding the fiscal year in which the termination fee is due, of (i) the quotient of (A) our total market capitalization on the trading day immediately preceding the date of payment of the termination fee, divided by (B) our Adjusted EBITDA for the LTM Period multiplied by (ii) Net Earnings for the LTM Period plus, to the extent not included in Net Earnings, any incentive fees under the advisory agreement that have accrued or are accelerated but have not yet been paid at the time of termination of the advisory agreement.
For purposes of this calculation, “Net Earnings” is generally defined in the advisory agreement as (A) the total base fees and incentive fees, plus any other revenues reported on our income statement as pertaining to the advisory agreement (in each case, in accordance with GAAP) including all EBITDA of us and our affiliates and certain of our subsidiaries from providing any additional services to Braemar and its affiliates, less (B) the total incremental expenses determined in accordance with the advisory agreement, in each case for the LTM Period (adjusted assuming (i) the agreement was in place for the full LTM Period if it otherwise was not and (ii) all contracts providing for fees owing to us by Braemar were in place for the full LTM Period if they otherwise were not and all fees payable under such contracts shall be annualized as such). In the event we acquire a beneficial ownership interest in a person that reported on its income statement revenues derived from Braemar, then the
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revenues received by such acquired person from Braemar for the full LTM Period shall be included within clause (A) of the definition of Net Earnings in the same proportion as our beneficial ownership of the acquired person.
Any such termination fee will be payable on or before the termination date.
Upon any termination of the advisory agreement, we are required to cooperate with and assist Braemar in executing an orderly transition of the management of its assets to a new advisor, providing a full accounting of all accounts held in the name of or on behalf of such company, returning any funds held on behalf of such company and returning any and all of the books and records of such company. Braemar will be responsible for paying all accrued fees and expenses and will be subject to certain non-solicitation obligations with respect to our employees upon any termination of the applicable advisory agreement other than termination as a result of change of control of our company.
The advisory agreement also provides that if: (a) Braemar enters a letter of intent or definitive agreement that upon consummation would constitute a change of control; (b) the Braemar board recommends that Braemar’s stockholders accept a third party tender offer that would, if consummated, result in a third party beneficially owning 35% or more of Braemar’s voting stock; or (c) a third party otherwise becomes a beneficial owner of 35% or more of Braemar voting stock, then we are entitled to transfer Braemar cash to an escrow account in an amount sufficient to pay the termination fee and other amounts set forth in the advisory agreement.
Base Fees under our Advisory Agreement with Braemar. Braemar is required to pay, on a monthly basis, a fee (the “Base Fee”) in an amount equal to 1/12th of the sum of (i) 0.70% of the Total Market Capitalization (as defined below) of Braemar for the prior month, plus (ii) the Net Asset Fee Adjustment (as defined below), if any, on the last day of the prior month during which the advisory agreement was in effect; provided, however, in no event shall the Base Fee for any month be less than the Braemar Minimum Base Fee (as defined below).
The “Total Market Capitalization” of Braemar for any period is calculated on a monthly basis as follows:
(a)    to the extent Braemar common stock is listed for trading on a national securities exchange for every day during any period for which the Total Market Capitalization is to be calculated, the amount calculated as:
(i)    the average of the volume-weighted average price per share of common stock for Braemar for each trading day of the period (“Average VWAP”) multiplied by the average number of shares of common stock and common units outstanding during such applicable period, on a fully-diluted basis (assuming all common units and long term incentive partnership units in the applicable operating partnership which have achieved economic parity with common units in the applicable operating partnership have been converted into shares of common stock and including any shares of common stock issuable upon conversion of any convertible preferred stock where the conversion price is less than the Average VWAP), plus
(ii)    the average for the applicable period of the aggregate principal amount of the consolidated indebtedness of Braemar (including its proportionate share of debt of any entity that is not consolidated but excluding its joint venture partners’ proportionate share of consolidated debt), plus
(iii)    the average for the applicable period of the liquidation value of any outstanding preferred equity of Braemar (excluding any shares of common stock issuable upon conversion of any convertible preferred stock of Braemar where the conversion price is less than the Average VWAP).
(b)     to the extent Braemar common stock is not listed for trading on a national securities exchange (due to any reason, including but not limited to delisting by the New York Stock Exchange or the occurrence of a change of control) for any day during any period for which the Total Market Capitalization is to be calculated, the greater of: (i) the weighted average Gross Asset Value of all Braemar’s assets on each day during such period; or (ii) the Total Market Capitalization as calculated pursuant to paragraph (a) of this definition on the last day on which common stock was listed for trading on a national securities exchange, regardless of whether this day occurred during the applicable period.
    “Gross Asset Value” shall mean, with respect to any of Braemar’s assets as of any date, the undepreciated carrying value of all such assets including all cash and cash equivalents and capitalized leases and any property and equipment leased to subsidiaries of Braemar to facilitate the purchase of any Enhanced Return Hotel Asset as reflected on the most recent balance sheet and accompanying footnotes of Braemar filed with the SEC or prepared by the Advisor in accordance with GAAP consistent with its performance of its duties under the advisory agreement without giving effect to any impairments plus the publicly disclosed purchase price (excluding any net working capital and transferred property and equipment reserves) of any assets acquired after the date of the most recent balance sheet and all capital expenditures made (to the extent not already
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reflected in the carrying value of the asset) with respect to an asset since the date of its acquisition for any improvements or for additions thereto, that have a useful life of more than one year and that are required to be capitalized under GAAP.
“Net Asset Fee Adjustment” shall be equal to (i) the product of the Sold Non-ERFP Asset Amount (as more particularly defined in the advisory agreement, but generally equal to the net sales prices of real property (other than any Enhanced Return Hotel Assets) sold or disposed of after the date of the ERFP Agreement, commencing with and including the first such sale) and 0.70% plus (ii) the product of the Sold ERFP Asset Amount (as more particularly defined in the advisory agreement, but generally equal to the net sales prices of Enhanced Return Hotel Assets sold or disposed of after the date of the ERFP Agreement, commencing with and including the first such sale) and 1.07%.
The “Braemar Minimum Base Fee” for each month will be equal to the greater of:
(i)    90% of the base fee paid for the same month in the prior year; and
(ii)    1/12th of the “G&A ratio” for the most recently completed fiscal quarter multiplied by the total market capitalization of Braemar on the last balance sheet date included in Braemar’s most recent Form 10-Q or Form 10-K filing.
The “G&A ratio” is calculated as the simple average of the ratios of total general and administrative expenses, including any dead deal costs, less any non-cash expenses, paid in the applicable fiscal quarter by each member of a select peer group, divided by the total market capitalization of such peer group member. The peer group for each company may be adjusted from time-to-time by mutual agreement between us and a majority of the independent directors of Braemar. Each month’s base fee is determined based on prior month results and is payable in cash on the fifth business day of the month for which the fee is applied.
Incentive Fee under the Advisory Agreements with Ashford Trust and Braemar. Incentive advisory fees are measured annually in each year that Ashford Trust’s and/or Braemar’s annual total stockholder return (“TSR”) exceeds the average annual total stockholder return for each company’s respective peer group, subject to the FCCR Condition, as defined in the advisory agreements. Incentive advisory fees are paid over a three-year period and each payment is subject to the FCCR Condition. For purposes of this calculation, Ashford Trust’s TSR is calculated using a year-end stock price equal to the closing price of its common stock on the last trading day of the year as compared to the closing stock price of its common stock on the last trading day of the prior year, in each case assuming all dividends on the common stock during such period are reinvested into additional shares of common stock of Ashford Trust on the day such dividends are paid. Braemar’s TSR is calculated as the sum, expressed as a percentage, of: (A) the change in the Braemar common stock price during the applicable period; plus (B) the dividend yield paid during the applicable period (determined by dividing dividends paid during the applicable period by Braemar’s common stock price at the beginning of the applicable period and including the value of any dividends or distributions with respect to Braemar common stock not paid in cash valued in the reasonable discretion of Ashford LLC). The average TSR for each member of such company’s peer group is calculated in the same manner and for the same time period, and the simple average for the entire peer group is used.
The annual incentive fee is calculated as (i) 5% of the amount (expressed as a percentage but in no event greater than 25%) by which the annual TSR of Ashford Trust or Braemar, as applicable, exceeds the average TSR for its respective peer group, multiplied by (ii) the fully diluted equity value of such company at December 31 of the applicable year. To determine the fully diluted equity value, we assume that all units in the operating partnership of Ashford Trust or Braemar, as applicable, including Long-Term Incentive Plan (“LTIP”) units that have achieved economic parity with the common units, if any, converted into common stock and that the per share value of each share of common stock of such company is equal to the closing price of its stock on the last trading day of the year. The incentive fee, if any, subject to the FCCR Condition, is payable in arrears in three equal annual installments with the first installment payable on January 15 following the applicable year for which the incentive fee relates and on January 15 of the next two successive years. Notwithstanding the foregoing, upon any termination of the advisory agreement for any reason, any unpaid incentive fee (including any incentive fee as measured for the stub period ending on the termination date) will become fully earned and immediately due and payable without regard to the FCCR Condition. Except in the case when the incentive fee is payable on the date of termination of this Agreement, up to 50% of the incentive fee may be paid by each Ashford Trust or Braemar, at the option of such entity, in shares its common stock or common units of the applicable operating partnership of such entity, with the balance payable in cash, unless at the time for payment of the incentive fee:
(i)    we or our affiliates own common stock or common units in an amount (determined with reference to the closing price of the common stock of each Ashford Trust or Braemar, as applicable, on the last trading day of the year) greater than or equal to three times the base fee for the preceding four quarters,
(ii)    payment in such securities would cause us to be subject to the provisions of the Investment Company Act, or
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(iii)    payment in such securities would not be legally permissible for any reason; in which case, the entire Incentive Fee will be paid by Ashford Trust or Braemar in cash.
Upon the determination of the incentive fee, except in the case of any termination of the advisory agreement in which case the incentive fee for the stub period and all unpaid installments of an incentive fee shall be deemed earned by us and fully due and payable by Ashford Trust and Braemar, as applicable, each one-third installment of the incentive fee shall not be deemed earned by us or otherwise payable by Ashford Trust or Braemar, as applicable, unless such entity, as of the December 31 immediately preceding the due date for the payment of the incentive fee installment, has met the FCCR Condition requiring an FCCR of 0.20x or greater. For purposes of this calculation, FCCR is the ratio of adjusted EBITDA for the previous four consecutive fiscal quarters to fixed charges, which includes all (i) such entity and its subsidiaries’ interest expense, (ii) such entity and its subsidiaries’ regularly scheduled principal payments, other than balloon or similar principal payments which repay indebtedness in full and payments under cash flow mortgages applied to principal and (iii) preferred dividends paid by such entity.
Equity Compensation. To incentivize our employees, officers, consultants, non-employee directors, affiliates and representatives to achieve the goals and business objectives of each of Ashford Trust and Braemar, as established by the boards of directors of such entities, in addition to the base fee and the incentive fee described above, the boards of directors of each of Ashford Trust and Braemar have the authority to make annual equity awards directly to our employees, officers, consultants and non-employee directors, based on achievement of certain financial and other objectives established by such board of directors.
Expense Reimbursement. We are responsible for all wages, salaries, cash bonus payments and benefits related to our employees providing services to Ashford Trust or Braemar (including any of the officers of Ashford Trust or Braemar who are also officers or employees of our company), with the exception of any equity compensation that may be awarded by Ashford Trust or Braemar to our employees who provide services to Ashford Trust and Braemar, the provision of certain internal audit, asset management and risk management services and the international office expenses described below. Ashford Trust and Braemar are each responsible to pay or reimburse us weekly for all other costs we incur on behalf of such entities or in connection with the performance of our services and duties to such companies, including, without limitation, tax, legal, accounting, advisory, investment banking and other third-party professional fees, director fees, insurance (including errors and omissions insurance and any other insurance required pursuant to the terms of the advisory agreements), debt service, taxes, underwriting, brokerage, reporting, registration, listing fees and charges, travel and entertainment expenses, conference sponsorships, transaction diligence and closing costs, dead deal costs, dividends, office space, the cost of all equity awards or compensation plans established by such companies, including the value of awards made by companies to our employees, and any other costs which are reasonably necessary for the performance by us of our duties and functions, including any expenses incurred by us to comply with new or revised laws or governmental rules or regulations that impose additional duties on Ashford Trust or Braemar or us in our capacity as advisor to such entities. In addition, each of Ashford Trust and Braemar pays a pro rata share of our office overhead and administrative expenses incurred in the performance of our duties and functions under the advisory agreements. There is no specific limitation on the amount of such reimbursements.
In addition to the expenses described above, each of Ashford Trust and Braemar are required to reimburse us weekly for its pro rata share (as reasonably agreed to between us and a majority of the independent directors of such company or its audit committee, chairman of its audit committee or lead director) of all reasonable international office expenses, overhead, personnel costs, travel and other costs directly related to our non-executive personnel who are located internationally or that oversee the operations of international assets or related to our personnel that source, investigate or provide diligence services in connection with possible acquisitions or investments internationally. Such expenses include but are not limited to, salary, wages, payroll taxes and the cost of employee benefit plans. We also pay for the costs associated with Ashford Trust’s current chairman emeritus, which includes a $700,000 annual stipend and the cost of all benefits currently available to him, as well as reimbursement for reasonable expenses incurred by him in connection with his service to Ashford Trust.
Additional Services. If, and to the extent that, either Ashford Trust or Braemar requests us to render services on behalf of such company other than those required to be rendered by us under the advisory agreement, including, but not limited to, certain services provided by Ashford Services, such additional services will be compensated separately, at market rates, as defined in the advisory agreements.
The Ashford Trademark. We have a proprietary interest in the “Ashford” trademark, and we agreed to license its use to each of Ashford Trust and Braemar. If at any time Ashford Trust or Braemar ceases to retain us to perform advisory services for them, within 60 days following receipt of written request from us, such entity must cease to conduct business under or use the “Ashford” name or logo, as well as change its name and the names of any of its subsidiaries to a name that does not contain the name “Ashford.”
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Our Hotel Management Agreements, Project Management Agreements and Mutual Exclusivity Agreements with each of Ashford Trust and Braemar
Ashford Trust Hotel Management Agreement
General. Ashford Trust entered into hotel master management agreements with Remington Lodging (then wholly-owned by Mr. Monty J. Bennett and Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr.) governing the terms of Remington Lodging’s provision of hotel management services and project management services with respect to hotels owned or leased by Ashford Trust in 2003, as amended, and 2006. In connection with the Company’s acquisition of Premier from Remington Lodging in August 2018, Ashford Trust amended and restated the original hotel master management agreement to provide only for hotel management services to be provided to Ashford Trust’s TRSs by Remington Lodging by entering into Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement. In connection with the Company’s subsequent acquisition of Remington Lodging on November 6, 2019, Remington Lodging became a subsidiary of the Company, and the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management agreement between Remington Lodging and Ashford Trust remains in effect. Pursuant to the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement, Remington currently manages 68 of Ashford Trust’s 103 hotel properties and WorldQuest. The Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement will also govern the management of hotels Ashford Trust acquires in the future that are managed by Remington, which has the right to manage and operate hotel properties Ashford Trust acquires in the future unless Ashford Trust’s independent directors either (i) unanimously elect not to engage Remington, or (ii) by a majority vote, elect not to engage Remington because they have determined, in their reasonable business judgment, (A) special circumstances exist such that it would be in Ashford Trust’s best interest not to engage Remington for the particular hotel, or (B) based on the prior performance of Remington, another manager could perform the management duties materially better than Remington for the particular hotel. See “Our Hotel Management Agreements, Project Management Agreements and Mutual Exclusivity Agreements with each of Ashford Trust and Braemar—Ashford Trust Hotel Management Mutual Exclusivity Agreement-—Exclusivity Rights of Remington.” Prior to its acquisition by the Company on November 6, 2019, Remington Lodging was owned 100% by Mr. Monty J. Bennett, our chairman, chief executive officer and a significant stockholder of the Company, and his father, Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr.
Term. The Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement provides for an initial term of 10 years as to each hotel governed by the agreement. The term may be renewed by Remington, at its option, subject to certain performance tests, for three successive periods of seven years each and, thereafter, a final term of four years, provided that at the time the option to renew is exercised, Remington is not then in default under the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement. If at the time of the exercise of any renewal period, Remington is in default, then the exercise of the renewal option will be conditional on timely cure of such default, and if such default is not timely cured, then Ashford Trust’s TRS lessee may terminate the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement regardless of the exercise of such option and without the payment of any fee or liquidated damages. If Remington desires to exercise any option to renew, it must give Ashford Trust’s TRS lessee written notice of its election to renew the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement no less than 90 days before the expiration of the then-current term of the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement.
Amounts Payable under the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement. Remington receives a base management fee, and if the hotels meet and exceed certain thresholds, an additional incentive fee. The base management fee for each hotel will be due monthly and will be equal to the greater of:
$14,105 (increased annually based on consumer price index adjustments); or
3% of the gross revenues associated with that hotel for the related month.
The incentive management fee, if any, for each hotel will be due annually in arrears within 90 days of the end of the fiscal year and will be equal to the lesser of (i) 1% of gross revenues and (ii) the amount by which the actual house profit (gross operating profit of the applicable hotel before deducting management fees or franchise fees) exceeds the target house profit as set forth in the annual operating budget approved for the applicable fiscal year, except with respect to hotels where Remington takes over management upon acquisition by Ashford Trust, in which case, for the first five years, the incentive management fee to be paid to Remington, if any, is the amount by which the hotel’s actual house profit exceeds the projected house profit for such calendar year as set forth in our acquisition pro forma. If, however, based on actual operations and revised forecasts from time to time, it is reasonably anticipated that the incentive fee is reasonably expected to be earned, the TRS lessee will consider payment of the incentive fee pro rata on a quarterly basis.
The incentive fee is designed to encourage Remington to generate higher house profit at each hotel by increasing the fee due to Remington when the hotels generate house profit above certain threshold levels. Any increased revenues should generate increased lease payments under the percentage leases and should thereby benefit our stockholders.
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Termination. The Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement may be terminated as to one or more of the hotels earlier than the stated term if certain events occur, including:
a sale of a hotel;
the failure of Remington to satisfy certain performance standards;
for the convenience of Ashford Trust’s TRS lessee;
in the event of a casualty to, condemnation of, or force majeure involving a hotel; or
upon a default by Remington or Ashford Trust that is not cured prior to the expiration of any applicable cure periods.
In certain cases of early termination of the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement with respect to one or more of the hotels, Ashford Trust must pay Remington termination fees, plus any amounts otherwise due to Remington pursuant to the terms of the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement. Ashford Trust will be obligated to pay termination fees in the circumstances described below, provided that Remington is not then in default, subject to certain cure and grace periods:
Sale. If any hotel subject to the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement is sold during the first 12 months of the date such hotel becomes subject to the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement, Ashford Trust’s TRS lessee may terminate the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement with respect to such sold hotel, provided that it pays to Remington an amount equal to the management fee (both base fees and incentive fees) estimated to be payable to Remington with respect to the applicable hotel pursuant to the then-current annual operating budget for the balance of the first year of the term. If any hotel subject to the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement is sold at any time after the first year of the term and the TRS lessee terminates the master management agreement with respect to such hotel, Ashford Trust’s TRS lessee will have no obligation to pay any termination fees.
Casualty. If any hotel subject to the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement is the subject of a casualty during the first year of the initial 10-year term and the TRS lessee elects not to rebuild, then Ashford Trust must pay to Remington the termination fee, if any, that would be owed if the hotel had been sold. However, after the first year of the initial 10-year term, if a hotel is the subject of a casualty and the TRS lessee elects not to rebuild the hotel even though sufficient casualty insurance proceeds are available to do so, then the TRS lessee must pay to Remington a termination fee equal to the product obtained by multiplying (i) 65% of the aggregate management fees (both base fees and incentive fees) estimated to be paid to Remington with respect to the applicable hotel pursuant to the then-current annual operating budget (but in no event less than the management fees for the preceding full fiscal year) by (ii) nine.
Condemnation or Force Majeure. In the event of a condemnation of, or the occurrence of any force majeure event with respect to, any of the hotels, the TRS lessee has no obligation to pay any termination fees if the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement terminates as to those hotels.
Failure to Satisfy Performance Test. If any hotel subject to the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement fails to satisfy a certain performance test, the TRS lessee may terminate the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement after the base 10 year term of the Ashford Trust hotel management agreement applicable to and with respect to such hotel, and in such case, the TRS lessee must pay to Remington an amount equal to 60% of the product obtained by multiplying (i) 65% of the aggregate management fees (both base fees and incentive fees) estimated to be paid to Remington with respect to the applicable hotel pursuant to the then-current annual operating budget (but in no event less than the management fees for the preceding full fiscal year) by (ii) nine. Remington will have failed the performance test with respect to a particular hotel if during any fiscal year during the term (i) such hotel’s gross operating profit margin for such fiscal year is less than 75% of the average gross operating profit margins of comparable hotels in similar markets and geographical locations, as reasonably determined by Remington and the TRS lessee, and (ii) such hotel’s RevPAR yield penetration is less than 80%. Upon a performance test failure, the TRS lessee must give Remington two years to cure. If, after the first year, the performance test failure has not been cured, then the TRS lessee may, in order not to waive any such failure, require Remington to engage a consultant with significant hotel lodging experience reasonably acceptable to both Remington and the TRS lessee, to make a determination as to whether or not another management company could manage the hotel in a materially more efficient manner. If the consultant’s determination is in the affirmative, then Remington must engage such consultant to assist with the cure of such performance failure for the second year of the cure period after that failure. If the consultant’s determination is in the negative, then Remington will be deemed not to be in default under the performance test. The cost of such consultant will be shared by the TRS lessee and Remington equally. If Remington fails the performance test for the second year of the cure period and, after that failure, the consultant again makes a finding that another management company could manage the hotel in a materially more efficient manner than Remington, then the TRS lessee has the right to terminate the Ashford Trust hotel management agreement after the base 10 year term of the Ashford Trust hotel management agreement applicable to and with respect to such hotel upon 45 days’ written notice to Remington and to pay to Remington the termination fee described above.
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Further, if any hotel subject to the Ashford Trust hotel management agreement is within a cure period due to a failure of the performance test, an exercise of a renewal option shall be conditioned upon timely cure of the performance test failure, and if the performance failure is not timely cured, the TRS lessee may elect to terminate the Ashford Trust hotel management agreement after the base 10 year term of the Ashford Trust hotel management agreement applicable to and with respect to such hotel without paying any termination fee.
For Convenience. With respect to any hotel managed by Remington pursuant to the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement, if the TRS lessee elects for convenience to terminate the management of such hotel, at any time, including during any renewal term, the TRS lessee must pay a termination fee to Remington, equal to the product of (i) 65% of the aggregate management fees for such hotel (both base fees and incentive fees) estimated to be payable to Remington with respect to the applicable hotel pursuant to the then-current annual operating budget (but in no event less than the management fees for the preceding full fiscal year) and (ii) nine.
If the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement terminates as to all of the hotels covered in connection with a default under the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement, the Ashford Trust hotel management MEA can also be terminated at the non-defaulting party’s election. See “Our Hotel Management Agreements, Project Management Agreements and Mutual Exclusivity Agreements with each of Ashford Trust and Braemar—Ashford Trust Hotel Management Mutual Exclusivity Agreement with Remington.”
Maintenance and Modifications. Remington must maintain each hotel in good repair and condition and make such routine maintenance, repairs and minor alterations as it deems reasonably necessary. The cost of all such routine maintenance, repairs and alterations will be paid by the TRS lessee. All non-routine repairs and maintenance, either to a hotel or its property and equipment pursuant to the capital improvement budget described below, will be managed by Premier pursuant to the Ashford Trust Project Management Agreement.
Insurance. Remington must coordinate with the TRS lessee the procurement and maintenance of all workers’ compensation, employer’s liability and other appropriate and customary insurance related to its operations as a hotel manager, the cost of which is the responsibility of the TRS lessee.
Assignment and Subleasing. Neither Remington nor the TRS lessee may assign or transfer the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement without the other party’s prior written consent. However, Remington may assign its rights and obligations to an affiliate that satisfies the eligible independent contractor requirements and is “controlled” by Mr. Monty J. Bennett, his father Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr., or their respective family partnerships or trusts, the sole members or beneficiaries of which are at all times lineal descendants of Messrs. Monty or Archie Bennett, Jr. (including step children) and spouses. “Controlled” means (i) the possession of a majority of the capital stock (or ownership interest) and voting power of such affiliate, directly or indirectly, or (ii) the power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of such affiliate in the capacity of chief executive officer, president, chairman, or other similar capacity where they are actively engaged or involved in providing such direction or control and spend a substantial amount of time managing such affiliate. No assignment will release Remington from any of its obligations under the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement.
Damage to Hotels. If any of our insured properties is destroyed or damaged, the TRS lessee is obligated, subject to the requirements of the underlying lease, to repair or replace the damaged or destroyed portion of the hotel to the same condition as existed prior to such damage or destruction. If the lease relating to such damaged hotel is terminated pursuant to the terms of the lease, the TRS lessee has the right to terminate the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement with respect to such damaged hotel upon 60 days’ written notice. In the event of a termination, neither the TRS lessee nor Remington will have any further liabilities or obligations under the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement with respect to such damaged hotel, except that Ashford Trust may be obligated to pay to Remington a termination fee, as described above. If the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement remains in effect with respect to such damaged hotel, and the damage does not result in a reduction of gross revenues at the hotel, the TRS lessee’s obligation to pay management fees will be unabated. If, however, the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement remains in effect with respect to such damaged hotel, but the damage does result in a reduction of gross revenues at the hotel, the TRS lessee will be entitled to partial, pro rata abatement of the management fees while the hotel is being repaired.
Condemnation of a Property or Force Majeure. If all or substantially all of a hotel is subject to a total condemnation or a partial taking that prevents use of the property as a hotel, the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement, with respect to such hotel, will terminate, subject to the requirements of the applicable lease. In the event of termination, neither the TRS lessee nor Remington will have any further rights, remedies, liabilities or obligations under the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement with respect to such hotel. If any partial taking of a property does not make it unreasonable to continue to operate the hotel, there is no right to terminate the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement. If there is an event of force majeure or any other cause beyond the control of Remington that directly involves a hotel and has a significant adverse
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effect upon the continued operations of that hotel, then the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement may be terminated by the TRS lessee. In the event of such a termination, neither the TRS lessee nor Remington will have any further rights, remedies, liabilities or obligations under the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement with respect to such hotel.
Annual Operating Budget. The Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement provides that not less than 45 days prior to the beginning of each fiscal year during the term of the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement, Remington will submit to the TRS lessee for each of the hotels, an annual operating budget setting forth in detail an estimated profit and loss statement for each of the next 12 months (or for the balance of the fiscal year in the event of a partial first fiscal year), including a schedule of hotel room rentals and other rentals and a marketing and business plan for each of the hotels. The budget is subject to the TRS lessee approval, which may not be unreasonably withheld. The budget may be revised from time to time, taking into account such circumstances as the TRS lessee deems appropriate or as business and operating conditions shall demand, subject to the reasonable approval of Remington.
Capital Improvement Budget. Remington must prepare a capital improvement budget of the expenditures necessary for replacement of property and equipment and building repairs for the hotels during the following fiscal year and provide such budget to the relevant TRS lessee and landlord for approval at the same time Remington submits the proposed annual operating budget for approval by TRS lessee. Remington may not make any other expenditures for these items without the relevant TRS lessee and landlord approval, except expenditures which are provided in the capital improvements budget or are required by reason of any (i) emergency, (ii) applicable legal requirements, (iii) the terms of any franchise agreement or (iv) are otherwise required for the continued safe and orderly operation of Ashford Trust’s hotels.
Indemnity Provisions. Remington has agreed to indemnify the TRS lessee against all damages not covered by insurance that arise from: (i) the fraud, willful misconduct or gross negligence of Remington subject to certain limitations; (ii) infringement by Remington of any third party’s intellectual property rights; (iii) employee claims based on a substantial violation by Remington of employment laws or that are a direct result of the corporate policies of Remington; (iv) the knowing or reckless placing, discharge, leakage, use or storage of hazardous materials in violation of applicable environmental laws on or in any of our hotels by Remington; or (v) the breach by Remington of the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement, including action taken by Remington beyond the scope of its authority under the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement, which is not cured.
Except to the extent indemnified by Remington as described in the preceding paragraph, the TRS lessee will indemnify Remington against all damages not covered by insurance and that arise from: (i) the performance of Remington’s services under the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement; (ii) the condition or use of Ashford Trust’s hotels; (iii) certain liabilities to which Remington is subjected, including pursuant to the WARN Act, in connection with the termination of the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement; (iv) all employee cost and expenses; or (v) any claims made by an employee of Remington against Remington that are based on a violation or alleged violation of the employment laws.
Events of Default. Events of default under the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement include:
The TRS lessee or Remington files a voluntary bankruptcy petition, or experiences a bankruptcy-related event not discharged within 90 days.
The TRS lessee or Remington fails to make any payment due under the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement, subject to a 10-day notice and cure period.
The TRS lessee or Remington fails to observe or perform any other term of the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement, subject to a 30-day notice and cure period. There are certain instances in which the 30-day notice and cure period can be extended to up to 120 days.
Remington does not qualify as an “eligible independent contractor” as such term is defined in Section 856(d)(9) of the Internal Revenue Code.
If an event of default occurs and continues beyond any grace period, the non-defaulting party will have the option of terminating the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement, on 30 days’ notice to the other party.
To minimize conflicts between Ashford Trust and Remington on matters arising under the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement, Ashford Trust’s Corporate Governance Guidelines provide that any waiver, consent, approval, modification, enforcement matters or elections which Ashford Trust may make pursuant to the terms of the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement shall be within the exclusive discretion and control of a majority of the independent members of the board of directors (or higher vote thresholds specifically set forth in such agreements). In addition, Ashford Trust’s board of directors has established a Related Party Transaction Committee comprised solely of independent members of
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Ashford Trust’s board of directors to review all related party transactions that involve conflicts. The Related Party Transaction Committee may make recommendations to the independent members of Ashford Trust’s board of directors (including rejection of any proposed transaction). All related party transactions are approved by either the Related Party Transaction Committee or the independent members of Ashford Trust’s board of directors.
Ashford Trust Hotel Management Mutual Exclusivity Agreement
General. Ashford Trust entered into a mutual exclusivity agreement with Remington Lodging (then wholly-owned by Mr. Monty J. Bennett and Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr.) in 2003 which was subsequently amended in 2013. Remington Lodging gave Ashford Trust a first right of refusal to purchase any lodging-related investments identified by Remington Lodging and any of its affiliates that met Ashford Trust’s initial investment criteria, and Ashford Trust agreed to engage Remington Lodging to provide hotel management, project management and development services for hotels Ashford Trust acquired or invested in, to the extent that Ashford Trust had the right or controlled the right to direct such matters, subject to certain conditions. In connection with the Company’s acquisition of Premier from Remington Lodging in August 2018, Ashford Trust amended and restated the original mutual exclusivity agreement to provide that Remington Lodging gave Ashford Trust a first right of refusal to purchase any lodging-related investments identified by Remington Lodging and any of its affiliates that met Ashford Trust’s initial investment criteria, and Ashford Trust agreed to engage Remington Lodging to provide hotel management for hotels Ashford Trust acquired or invested in, to the extent that Ashford Trust had the right or controlled the right to direct such matters. As a result, concurrently with the Company’s acquisition of Premier, Ashford Trust OP and Remington Lodging entered into the Amended and Restated Mutual Exclusivity Agreement dated as of August 8, 2018, which agreement we refer to below as the “Ashford Trust hotel management MEA.” In connection with the Company’s subsequent acquisition of Remington Lodging on November 6, 2019, Remington Lodging became a subsidiary of the Company, and the mutual exclusivity agreement between Remington Lodging and Ashford Trust remains in effect.
Term. The initial term of the Ashford Trust hotel management MEA is 10 years from November 19, 2013. This term automatically extends for three additional renewal periods of seven years each and a final renewal period of four years, for a total of up to 35 years. The agreement may be sooner terminated because of:
an event of default (see “Events of Default”),
a party’s early termination rights (see “Early Termination”), or
a termination of all the Ashford Trust master hotel management agreements between TRS lessee and Remington because of an event of default under the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement that affects all properties (see “Relationship with Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement”).
Modification of Investment Guidelines. In the event that Ashford Trust materially modifies its initial investment guidelines without the written consent of Remington, which consent may be withheld at its sole and absolute discretion, and may further be subject to the consent of Braemar, Remington will have no obligation to present or offer Ashford Trust investment opportunities at any time thereafter. Instead, Remington, subject to the superior rights of Braemar or any other party with which Remington may have an existing agreement, shall use their reasonable discretion to determine how to allocate investment opportunities it identifies. In the event Ashford Trust materially modifies its investment guidelines without the written consent of Remington, Braemar will have superior rights to investment opportunities identified by Remington, and Ashford Trust will no longer retain preferential treatment to investment opportunities identified by Remington. A material modification for this purpose means any modification of Ashford Trust’s initial investment guidelines to be competitive with Braemar’s investment guidelines.
Our Exclusivity Rights. Remington and Mr. Monty J. Bennett have granted Ashford Trust a first right of refusal to pursue certain lodging investment opportunities identified by Remington or its affiliates (including Mr. Bennett), including opportunities to buy hotel properties, to buy land and build hotels, or to otherwise invest in hotel properties that satisfy Ashford Trust’s initial investment guidelines and are not considered excluded transactions pursuant to the Ashford Trust hotel management MEA. If investment opportunities are identified and are subject to the Ashford Trust hotel management MEA, and Ashford Trust has not materially modified its initial investment guidelines without the written consent of Remington, then Remington Lodging, Mr. Bennett and their affiliates, as the case may be, will not pursue those opportunities (except as described below) and will give Ashford Trust a written notice and description of the investment opportunity, and Ashford Trust will have 10 business days to either accept or reject the investment opportunity. If Ashford Trust rejects the opportunity, Remington may then pursue such investment opportunity, subject to a right of first refusal in favor of Braemar pursuant to an existing agreement between Braemar and Remington, on materially the same terms and conditions as offered to Ashford Trust. If the terms of such investment opportunity materially change, then Remington must offer the revised investment opportunity to Ashford Trust, whereupon Ashford Trust will have 10 business days to either accept or reject the opportunity on the revised terms.
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Reimbursement of Costs. If Ashford Trust accepts an investment opportunity from Remington, Ashford Trust will be obligated to reimburse Remington or its affiliates for the actual out-of-pocket and third-party costs and expenses paid by Remington or its affiliates in connection with such investment opportunity, including any earnest money deposits, but excluding any finder’s fee, brokerage fee, development fee or other compensation paid by Remington or its affiliates. Remington must submit to Ashford Trust an accounting of the costs in reasonable detail.
Exclusivity Rights of Remington. If Ashford Trust elects to pursue an investment opportunity that consists of the management and operation of a hotel property or acquisition of debt, or making of a loan, with respect to such hotel property, Ashford Trust will hire Remington to provide such services unless Ashford Trust’s independent directors either (i) unanimously elect not to engage Remington, or (ii) by a majority vote, elect not to engage Remington because they have determined, in their reasonable business judgment, (A) special circumstances exist such that it would be in Ashford Trust’s best interest not to engage Remington for the particular hotel, or (B) based on the prior performance of Remington, another manager or developer could perform the management duties materially better than Remington for the particular hotel. In return, Remington has agreed that it will provide those services.
Excluded Investment Opportunities. The following are excluded from the Ashford Trust hotel management MEA and are not subject to any exclusivity rights or right of first refusal:
With respect to Remington, an investment opportunity where Ashford Trust’s independent directors have unanimously voted not to engage Remington as the manager or developer.
With respect to Remington, an investment opportunity where Ashford Trust’s independent directors, by a majority vote, have elected not to engage Remington as the manager or developer based on their determination, in their reasonable business judgment, that special circumstances exist such that it would be in Ashford Trust’s best interest not to engage Remington with respect to the particular hotel.
With respect to Remington, an investment opportunity where Ashford Trust’s independent directors, by a majority vote, have elected not to engage Remington as the manager or developer because they have determined, in their reasonable business judgment, that another manager or developer could perform the management, development or other duties materially better than Remington for the particular hotel, based on Remington’s prior performance.
Existing hotel investments of Remington or its affiliates with any of their existing joint venture partners, investors or property owners.
Existing bona fide arm’s length third-party management arrangements (or arrangements for other services) of Remington or any of its affiliates with third parties other than Ashford Trust and its affiliates.
Like-kind exchanges made pursuant to existing contractual obligations by any of the existing joint venture partners, investors or property owners in which Remington or its affiliates have an ownership interest, provided that Remington provides Ashford Trust with notice 10 days prior to such transaction.
Management or Development. If Ashford Trust hires Remington to manage or operate a hotel, it will be pursuant to the terms of the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement agreed to between Ashford Trust and Remington.
Events of Default. Each of the following is a default under the Ashford Trust hotel management MEA:
Ashford Trust or Remington experience a bankruptcy-related event;
Ashford Trust fails to reimburse Remington as described under “Reimbursement of Costs,” subject to a 30-day cure period; and
Ashford Trust or Remington does not observe or perform any other term of the agreement, subject to a 30-day cure period (which may be increased to a maximum of 120 days in certain instances).
If a default occurs, the non-defaulting party will have the option of terminating the Ashford Trust hotel management MEA subject to 30 days’ written notice and pursuing its rights and remedies under applicable law.
Early Termination. Remington has the right to terminate the exclusivity rights granted to Ashford Trust if:
Mr. Monty J. Bennett is removed without cause as chairman of Ashford Trust’s board of directors or is not re-appointed to such position, or he resigns as chairman of its board of directors for good reason or as a result of a change of control, or the employment agreement of Mr. Monty J. Bennett with the Company is not renewed;
Mr. Archie Bennett Jr. is removed as Chairman Emeritus or Ashford Trust breaches the Chairman Emeritus Agreement dated January 7, 2013;
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Upon expiration of the non-compete restrictions contained in the employment agreement of Mr. Monty J. Bennett;
If Mr. Monty J. Bennett is no longer chairman of the board of Ashford Trust and subject to the non-compete restrictions in his employment agreement, and three times in any fiscal year during the term of the Ashford Trust hotel management MEA, in any combination of the following: (i) Ashford Trust’s independent directors elect not to pursue a Remington transaction (as specified in the Ashford Trust hotel management MEA) or elect not to engage Remington with respect to the management opportunities part of a Remington transaction which Ashford Trust has elected to pursue pursuant to the Ashford Trust hotel management MEA, or (ii) Ashford Trust fails to close on a Remington transaction presented to Ashford Trust, and the failure to close is caused by an Ashford Trust affiliate; or
Ashford Trust terminates the Remington exclusivity rights pursuant to the terms of the Ashford Trust hotel management MEA.
Ashford Trust may terminate the exclusivity rights granted to Remington if:
Remington fails to qualify as an “eligible independent contractor” as defined in Section 856(d)(9) of the Internal Revenue Code and for that reason, Ashford Trust terminates the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement with Remington;
If Mr. Monty J. Bennett resigns as chief executive officer and chairman of the board of directors of Ashford Trust without good reason or if Mr. Monty J. Bennett’s employment agreement with the Company is terminated for cause;
Ashford Trust experiences a change in control provided that Ashford Trust first pays to Remington the termination fees payable in connection with a termination for convenience pursuant to the Ashford Trust hotel management MEA; and
Remington terminates Ashford Trust’s exclusivity rights pursuant to the terms of the Ashford Trust hotel management MEA or the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement for all of the properties then covered.
Assignment. The Ashford Trust hotel management MEA may not be assigned by any of the parties without the prior written consent of the other parties, provided that Remington can assign its interest in the Ashford Trust hotel management MEA, without the written consent of the other parties, to a “manager affiliate entity” as that term is defined in the agreement, so long as such affiliate qualifies as an “eligible independent contractor” at the time of such transfer.
Relationship with Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement. The rights provided to Ashford Trust and to Remington in the Ashford Trust hotel management MEA may be terminated if the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement between Ashford Trust and Remington terminates in its entirety because of an event of default as to all of the then-managed properties. A termination of Remington’s management rights with respect to one or more hotels (but not all hotels) does not terminate the Ashford Trust hotel management MEA. A termination of the Ashford Trust hotel management MEA does not terminate the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement either in part or in whole, and the Ashford Trust Master Hotel Management Agreement would continue in accordance with its terms as to the hotels covered, despite a termination of the Ashford Trust hotel management MEA.
Ashford Trust Project Management Agreement
Remington Lodging had previously entered into hotel master management agreements (collectively, the “Ashford Trust Original Master Management Agreement”) with Ashford TRS Corporation, a subsidiary of Ashford Trust OP, and certain of its affiliates (collectively, “Ashford Trust TRS”), pursuant to which Remington Lodging provided Ashford Trust TRS both hotel management services and project management services with respect to hotels owned or leased by Ashford Trust TRS.
In connection with the Company’s acquisition of Premier from Remington Lodging, the parties divided the Ashford Trust Original Master Management Agreement into (i) an agreement between Ashford Trust and Remington Lodging with respect to the provision of hotel management services to Ashford Trust TRS (which was effectuated by consolidating, amending and restating the Ashford Trust Original Master Management Agreement to provide only hotel management services) and (ii) an agreement among Ashford Trust TRS, Ashford Trust OP and Premier with respect to the provision of project management services, solely in order to effect the transfer of the project management business to Premier. As a result, concurrently with the acquisition of Premier, Ashford Trust TRS, Ashford Trust OP and Premier entered into the Ashford Trust Project Management Agreement.
Pursuant to the Ashford Trust Project Management Agreement, Ashford Trust TRS has appointed Premier as its sole, exclusive and continuing manager to manage, coordinate, plan and execute the capital improvement budget and all major repositionings of hotels owned or leased by Ashford Trust TRS (collectively, “Ashford Trust Hotels”) and to provide construction management, interior design, architectural, property and equipment purchasing, property and equipment expediting/freight management, property and equipment warehousing, and property and equipment installation and supervision services (collectively, “Project Services”).
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The Ashford Trust Project Management Agreement provides that Premier shall be paid a project management fee equal to four percent of the total project costs associated with the implementation of the capital improvement budget (both hard and soft) payable monthly in arrears based upon the prior calendar month’s total expenditures under the capital improvement budget until such time that the capital improvement budget and/or renovation project involves the expenditure of an amount in excess of five percent of the gross revenues of the applicable Ashford Trust Hotel, whereupon the project management fee shall be reduced to three percent of the total project costs in excess of the five percent of gross revenue threshold. In addition, the Ashford Trust Project Management Agreement provides that Premier shall also provide to Ashford Trust Hotels the following services, and shall be paid the following fees: (i) architectural (6.5% of total construction costs); (ii) construction management for projects without a general contractor (10% of total construction costs); (iii) interior design (6% of the purchase price of the property and equipment designed or selected by Premier); and (iv) property and equipment purchasing (8% of the purchase price of the property and equipment purchased by Premier; provided that if the purchase price exceeds $2.0 million for a single hotel in a calendar year, then the purchasing fee is reduced to 6% of the property and equipment purchase price in excess of $2.0 million for such hotel in such calendar year).
The Ashford Trust Project Management Agreement provides for an initial term of 10 years as to each hotel governed by the agreement. The term may be renewed by Premier, at its option, for three successive periods of seven years each and, thereafter, a final term of four years, provided that at the time the option to renew is exercised, Premier is not then in default under the Ashford Trust Project Management Agreement. In certain cases of early termination of the Ashford Trust Project Management Agreement with respect to one or more of the hotels, Ashford Trust must pay Premier termination fees as described in the Ashford Trust Project Management Agreement, plus any amounts otherwise due to Premier.
Ashford Trust Project Management Mutual Exclusivity Agreement
Remington Lodging had previously entered into a Mutual Exclusivity Agreement dated August 29, 2003 (the “Ashford Trust Original Mutual Exclusivity Agreement”) with Ashford Trust and Ashford Trust OP. Under the Ashford Trust Original Exclusivity Agreement, Remington Lodging gave Ashford Trust a first right of refusal to purchase any lodging-related investments identified by Remington Lodging and any of its affiliates that met Ashford Trust’s initial investment criteria, and Ashford Trust agreed to engage Remington Lodging to provide hotel management, development and construction, capital improvement, refurbishment, project management and other services, such as purchasing, interior design, freight management, and construction management, for hotels Ashford Trust acquired or invested in, to the extent that Ashford Trust had the right or controlled the right to direct such matters, subject to certain conditions.
In connection with the Company’s acquisition of Premier from Remington Lodging, the parties divided the Ashford Trust Original Mutual Exclusivity Agreement into: (i) an agreement among Ashford Trust, Ashford Trust OP and Remington Lodging with respect to the provision of hotel management services to Ashford Trust (which was effectuated by amending and restating the Ashford Trust Original Mutual Exclusivity Agreement to require Ashford Trust to engage Remington Lodging only with respect to hotel management services) and (ii) an agreement among Ashford Trust, Ashford Trust OP and Premier with respect to the provisions of development and construction, capital improvement, refurbishment, project management and other services, such as purchasing, interior design, freight management, and construction management, solely in order to effect the transfer of the project management business to Premier. As a result, concurrently with the acquisition of Premier, Ashford Trust, Ashford Trust OP and Premier entered into the Ashford Trust Mutual Exclusivity Agreement dated as of August 8, 2018 (the “Ashford Trust Mutual Exclusivity Agreement”).
Pursuant to the Ashford Trust Mutual Exclusivity Agreement, Premier has given Ashford Trust a first right of refusal to purchase any lodging-related investments identified by Premier and any of its affiliates that meet Ashford Trust’s initial investment criteria, and Ashford Trust has agreed to engage Premier to provide development and construction, capital improvement, refurbishment, project management and other services, such as purchasing, interior design, freight management, and construction management, for hotels Ashford Trust acquires or invests in, to the extent that Ashford Trust has the right or controls the right to direct such matters, unless Ashford Trust’s independent directors either: (i) unanimously vote not to hire Premier; or (ii) based on special circumstances or past performance, by a majority vote elect not to engage Premier because they had determined, in their reasonable business judgment, that it would not be in Ashford Trust’s best interest to engage Premier or that another manager or developer could perform the project management or development duties materially better.
The Ashford Trust Mutual Exclusivity Agreement provides for a term ending August 29, 2027, including extensions exercised to date. The term will be automatically extended for one seven year period and, thereafter, a final term of four years, provided that at the time of any such extension an event of default under the Ashford Trust Mutual Exclusivity Agreement does not exist.

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Braemar Hotel Master Hotel Management Agreement
General. In 2014, Braemar entered into a hotel master management agreement with Remington Lodging (then wholly-owned by Mr. Monty J. Bennett and Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr.) governing the terms of Remington Lodging’s provision of hotel management services and project management services with respect to hotels owned or leased by Braemar. In connection with the Company’s acquisition of Premier from Remington Lodging in August 2018, Braemar amended and restated the original hotel master management agreement to provide only for hotel management services to be provided to Braemar’s TRSs by Remington Lodging by entering into the Amended and Restated Hotel Master Management Agreement dated as of August 8, 2018, which agreement we refer to below as the “Braemar master hotel management agreement.” In connection with the Company’s subsequent acquisition of Remington Lodging on November 6, 2019, Remington Lodging became a subsidiary of the Company, and the Braemar master hotel management agreement between Remington Lodging and Braemar remains in effect. Pursuant to the Braemar master hotel management agreement, Remington currently manages the Pier House Resort, the Bardessono Hotel and Hotel Yountville. The Braemar master hotel management agreement will also govern the management of hotels Braemar acquires in the future that are managed by Remington, which has the right to manage and operate hotel properties Braemar acquires in the future unless Braemar’s independent directors either (i) unanimously elect not to engage Remington, or (ii) by a majority vote, elect not to engage Remington because they have determined, in their reasonable business judgment, (A) special circumstances exist such that it would be in Braemar’s best interest not to engage Remington for the particular hotel, or (B) based on the prior performance of Remington, another manager or developer could perform the management duties materially better than Remington for the particular hotel. See “Our Hotel Management Agreements, Project Management Agreements and Mutual Exclusivity Agreements with each of Ashford Trust and Braemar—Braemar Hotel Management Mutual Exclusivity Agreement with Remington—Exclusivity Rights of Remington.” Prior to its acquisition by the Company on November 6, 2019, Remington Lodging was owned 100% by Mr. Monty J. Bennett, our chairman, chief executive officer and a significant stockholder of the Company, and his father, Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr.
Term. The Braemar master hotel management agreement provides for an initial term of 10 years as to each hotel governed by the agreement. The term may be renewed by Remington, at its option, subject to certain performance tests, for three successive periods of seven years each and, thereafter, a final term of four years, provided that at the time the option to renew is exercised, Remington is not then in default under the Braemar master hotel management agreement. If at the time of the exercise of any renewal period, Remington is in default, then the exercise of the renewal option will be conditional on timely cure of such default, and if such default is not timely cured, then Braemar’s TRS lessee may terminate the Braemar master hotel management agreement regardless of the exercise of such option and without the payment of any fee or liquidated damages. If Remington desires to exercise any option to renew, it must give Braemar’s TRS lessee written notice of its election to renew the Braemar master hotel management agreement no less than 90 days before the expiration of the then-current term of the Braemar master hotel management agreement.
Amounts Payable under the Braemar Master Hotel Management Agreement. Remington receives a base management fee, and if the hotels meet and exceed certain thresholds, an additional incentive fee. The base management fee for each hotel will be due monthly and will be equal to the greater of:
$14,105 (increased annually based on consumer price index adjustments); or
3% of the gross revenues associated with that hotel for the related month.
The incentive management fee, if any, for each hotel will be due annually in arrears within 90 days of the end of the fiscal year and will be equal to the lesser of (i) 1% of gross revenues and (ii) the amount by which the actual house profit (gross operating profit of the applicable hotel before deducting management fees or franchise fees) exceeds the target house profit as set forth in the annual operating budget approved for the applicable fiscal year, except with respect to hotels where Remington takes over management upon acquisition by Braemar, in which case, for the first five years, the incentive management fee to be paid to Remington, if any, is the amount by which the hotel’s actual house profit exceeds the projected house profit for such calendar year as set forth in our acquisition pro forma. If, however, based on actual operations and revised forecasts from time to time, it is reasonably anticipated that the incentive fee is reasonably expected to be earned, the TRS lessee will consider payment of the incentive fee pro rata on a quarterly basis.
The incentive fee is designed to encourage Remington to generate higher house profit at each hotel by increasing the fee due to Remington when the hotels generate house profit above certain threshold levels. Any increased revenues will generate increased lease payments under the percentage leases and should thereby benefit our stockholders.
Termination. The Braemar master hotel management agreement may be terminated as to one or more of the hotels earlier than the stated term if certain events occur, including:
a sale of a hotel;
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the failure of Remington to satisfy certain performance standards;
for the convenience of Braemar’s TRS lessee;
in the event of a casualty to, condemnation of, or force majeure involving a hotel; or
upon a default by Remington or Braemar that is not cured prior to the expiration of any applicable cure periods.
In certain cases of early termination of the Braemar master hotel management agreement with respect to one or more of the hotels, Braemar must pay Remington termination fees, plus any amounts otherwise due to Remington pursuant to the terms of the Braemar master hotel management agreement. Braemar will be obligated to pay termination fees in the circumstances described below, provided that Remington is not then in default, subject to certain cure and grace periods:
Sale. If any hotel subject to the Braemar master hotel management agreement is sold during the first 12 months of the date such hotel becomes subject to the Braemar master hotel management agreement, Braemar’s TRS lessee may terminate the Braemar master hotel management agreement with respect to such sold hotel, provided that it pays to Remington an amount equal to the management fee (both base fees and incentive fees) estimated to be payable to Remington with respect to the applicable hotel pursuant to the then-current annual operating budget for the balance of the first year of the term. If any hotel subject to the Braemar master hotel management agreement is sold at any time after the first year of the term and the TRS lessee terminates the master hotel management agreement with respect to such hotel, Braemar’s TRS lessee will have no obligation to pay any termination fees.
Casualty. If any hotel subject to the Braemar master hotel management agreement is the subject of a casualty during the first year of the initial 10-year term and the TRS lessee elects not to rebuild, then Braemar must pay to Remington the termination fee, if any, that would be owed if the hotel had been sold. However, after the first year of the initial 10-year term, if a hotel is the subject of a casualty and the TRS lessee elects not to rebuild the hotel even though sufficient casualty insurance proceeds are available to do so, then the TRS lessee must pay to Remington a termination fee equal to the product obtained by multiplying (i) 65% of the aggregate management fees (both base fees and incentive fees) estimated to be paid to Remington with respect to the applicable hotel pursuant to the then-current annual operating budget (but in no event less than the management fees for the preceding full fiscal year) by (ii) nine.
Condemnation or Force Majeure. In the event of a condemnation of, or the occurrence of any force majeure event with respect to, any of the hotels, the TRS lessee has no obligation to pay any termination fees if the Braemar master hotel management agreement terminates as to those hotels.
Failure to Satisfy Performance Test. If any hotel subject to the Braemar master hotel management agreement fails to satisfy a certain performance test, the TRS lessee may terminate the Braemar master hotel management agreement with respect to such hotel, and in such case, the TRS lessee must pay to Remington an amount equal to 60% of the product obtained by multiplying (i) 65% of the aggregate management fees (both base fees and incentive fees) estimated to be paid to Remington with respect to the applicable hotel pursuant to the then-current annual operating budget (but in no event less than the management fees for the preceding full fiscal year) by (ii) nine. Remington will have failed the performance test with respect to a particular hotel if during any fiscal year during the term (i) such hotel’s gross operating profit margin for such fiscal year is less than 75% of the average gross operating profit margins of comparable hotels in similar markets and geographical locations, as reasonably determined by Remington and the TRS lessee, and (ii) such hotel’s RevPAR yield penetration is less than 80%. Upon a performance test failure, the TRS lessee must give Remington two years to cure. If, after the first year, the performance test failure has not been cured, then the TRS lessee may, in order not to waive any such failure, require Remington to engage a consultant with significant hotel lodging experience reasonably acceptable to both Remington and the TRS lessee, to make a determination as to whether or not another management company could manage the hotel in a materially more efficient manner. If the consultant’s determination is in the affirmative, then Remington must engage such consultant to assist with the cure of such performance failure for the second year of the cure period after that failure. If the consultant’s determination is in the negative, then Remington will be deemed not to be in default under the performance test. The cost of such consultant will be shared by the TRS lessee and Remington equally. If Remington fails the performance test for the second year of the cure period and, after that failure, the consultant again makes a finding that another management company could manage the hotel in a materially more efficient manner than Remington, then the TRS lessee has the right to terminate the Braemar hotel management agreement with respect to such hotel upon 45 days’ written notice to Remington and to pay to Remington the termination fee described above. Further, if any hotel subject to the Braemar hotel management agreement is within a cure period due to a failure of the performance test, an exercise of a renewal option shall be conditioned upon timely cure of the performance test failure, and if the performance failure is not timely cured, the TRS lessee may elect to terminate the Braemar hotel management agreement without paying any termination fee.
For Convenience. With respect to any hotel managed by Remington pursuant to the Braemar master hotel management agreement, if the TRS lessee elects for convenience to terminate the management of such hotel, at any time, including during
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any renewal term, the TRS lessee must pay a termination fee to Remington, equal to the product of (i) 65% of the aggregate management fees for such hotel (both base fees and incentive fees) estimated to be payable to Remington with respect to the applicable hotel pursuant to the then-current annual operating budget (but in no event less than the management fees for the preceding full fiscal year) and (ii) nine.
If the Braemar master hotel management agreement terminates as to all of the hotels covered in connection with a default under the Braemar master hotel management agreement, the Braemar hotel management MEA can also be terminated at the non-defaulting party’s election. See “Our Hotel Management Agreements, Project Management Agreements and Mutual Exclusivity Agreements with each of Ashford Trust and Braemar—Braemar Hotel Management Mutual Exclusivity Agreement with Remington.”
Maintenance and Modifications. Remington must maintain each hotel in good repair and condition and make such routine maintenance, repairs and minor alterations as it deems reasonably necessary. The cost of all such routine maintenance, repairs and alterations will be paid by the TRS lessee. All non-routine repairs and maintenance, either to a hotel or its property and equipment pursuant to the capital improvement budget described below, will be managed by Premier pursuant to the master project management agreement.
Insurance. Remington must coordinate with the TRS lessee the procurement and maintenance of all workers’ compensation, employer’s liability, and other appropriate and customary insurance related to its operations as a hotel manager, the cost of which is the responsibility of the TRS lessee.
Assignment and Subleasing. Neither Remington nor the TRS lessee may assign or transfer the Braemar master hotel management agreement without the other party’s prior written consent. However, Remington may assign its rights and obligations to an affiliate that satisfies the eligible independent contractor requirements and is “controlled” by Mr. Monty J. Bennett, his father Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr., or their respective family partnerships or trusts, the sole members or beneficiaries of which are at all times lineal descendants of Messrs. Monty or Archie Bennett, Jr. (including step children) and spouses. “Controlled” means (i) the possession of a majority of the capital stock (or ownership interest) and voting power of such affiliate, directly or indirectly, or (ii) the power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of such affiliate in the capacity of chief executive officer, president, chairman, or other similar capacity where they are actively engaged or involved in providing such direction or control and spend a substantial amount of time managing such affiliate. No assignment will release Remington from any of its obligations under the Braemar master hotel management agreement.
Damage to Hotels. If any of our insured properties is destroyed or damaged, the TRS lessee is obligated, subject to the requirements of the underlying lease, to repair or replace the damaged or destroyed portion of the hotel to the same condition as existed prior to such damage or destruction. If the lease relating to such damaged hotel is terminated pursuant to the terms of the lease, the TRS lessee has the right to terminate the Braemar master hotel management agreement with respect to such damaged hotel upon 60 days’ written notice. In the event of a termination, neither the TRS lessee nor Remington will have any further liabilities or obligations under the Braemar master hotel management agreement with respect to such damaged hotel, except that Braemar may be obligated to pay to Remington a termination fee, as described above. If the Braemar master hotel management agreement remains in effect with respect to such damaged hotel, and the damage does not result in a reduction of gross revenues at the hotel, the TRS lessee’s obligation to pay management fees will be unabated. If, however, the Braemar master hotel management agreement remains in effect with respect to such damaged hotel, but the damage does result in a reduction of gross revenues at the hotel, the TRS lessee will be entitled to partial, pro rata abatement of the management fees while the hotel is being repaired.
Condemnation of a Property or Force Majeure. If all or substantially all of a hotel is subject to a total condemnation or a partial taking that prevents use of the property as a hotel, the Braemar master hotel management agreement, with respect to such hotel, will terminate, subject to the requirements of the applicable lease. In the event of termination, neither the TRS lessee nor Remington will have any further rights, remedies, liabilities or obligations under the Braemar master hotel management agreement with respect to such hotel. If any partial taking of a property does not make it unreasonable to continue to operate the hotel, there is no right to terminate the Braemar master hotel management agreement. If there is an event of force majeure or any other cause beyond the control of Remington that directly involves a hotel and has a significant adverse effect upon the continued operations of that hotel, then the Braemar master hotel management agreement may be terminated by the TRS lessee. In the event of such a termination, neither the TRS lessee nor Remington will have any further rights, remedies, liabilities or obligations under the Braemar master hotel management agreement with respect to such hotel.
Annual Operating Budget. The Braemar master hotel management agreement provides that not less than 45 days prior to the beginning of each fiscal year during the term of the Braemar master hotel management agreement, Remington will submit to the TRS lessee for each of the hotels, an annual operating budget setting forth in detail an estimated profit and loss statement for each of the next 12 months (or for the balance of the fiscal year in the event of a partial first fiscal year), including a
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schedule of hotel room rentals and other rentals and a marketing and business plan for each of the hotels. The budget is subject to the TRS lessee approval, which may not be unreasonably withheld. The budget may be revised from time to time, taking into account such circumstances as the TRS lessee deems appropriate or as business and operating conditions shall demand, subject to the reasonable approval of Remington.
Capital Improvement Budget. Remington must prepare a capital improvement budget of the expenditures necessary for replacement of property and equipment and building repairs for the hotels during the following fiscal year and provide such budget to the relevant TRS lessee and landlord for approval at the same time Remington submits the proposed annual operating budget for approval by TRS lessee. Remington may not make any other expenditures for these items without the relevant TRS lessee and landlord approval, except expenditures which are provided in the capital improvements budget or are required by reason of any (i) emergency, (ii) applicable legal requirements, (iii) the terms of any franchise agreement or (iv) are otherwise required for the continued safe and orderly operation of Braemar’s hotels.
Indemnity Provisions. Remington has agreed to indemnify the TRS lessee against all damages not covered by insurance that arise from: (i) the fraud, willful misconduct or gross negligence of Remington subject to certain limitations; (ii) infringement by Remington of any third party’s intellectual property rights; (iii) employee claims based on a substantial violation by Remington of employment laws or that are a direct result of the corporate policies of Remington; (iv) the knowing or reckless placing, discharge, leakage, use or storage of hazardous materials in violation of applicable environmental laws on or in any of our hotels by Remington; or (v) the breach by Remington of the Braemar master hotel management agreement, including action taken by Remington beyond the scope of its authority under the Braemar master hotel management agreement, which is not cured.
Except to the extent indemnified by Remington as described in the preceding paragraph, the TRS lessee will indemnify Remington against all damages not covered by insurance and that arise from: (i) the performance of Remington’s services under the Braemar master hotel management agreement; (ii) the condition or use of Braemar’s hotels; (iii) certain liabilities to which Remington is subjected, including pursuant to the WARN Act, in connection with the termination of the Braemar master hotel management agreement; (iv) all employee cost and expenses; or (v) any claims made by an employee of Remington against Remington that are based on a violation or alleged violation of the employment laws.
Events of Default. Events of default under the Braemar master hotel management agreement include:
The TRS lessee or Remington files a voluntary bankruptcy petition, or experiences a bankruptcy-related event not discharged within 90 days.
The TRS lessee or Remington fails to make any payment due under the Braemar master hotel management agreement, subject to a 10-day notice and cure period.
The TRS lessee or Remington fails to observe or perform any other term of the Braemar master hotel management agreement, subject to a 30-day notice and cure period. There are certain instances in which the 30-day notice and cure period can be extended to up to 120 days.
Remington does not qualify as an “eligible independent contractor” as such term is defined in Section 856(d)(9) of the Internal Revenue Code.
If an event of default occurs and continues beyond any grace period, the non-defaulting party will have the option of terminating the Braemar master hotel management agreement, on 30 days’ notice to the other party.
To minimize conflicts between Braemar and Remington on matters arising under the Braemar master hotel management agreement, Braemar’s Corporate Governance Guidelines provide that any waiver, consent, approval, modification, enforcement matters or elections which Braemar may make pursuant to the terms of the Braemar master hotel management agreement shall be within the exclusive discretion and control of a majority of the independent members of the board of directors (or higher vote thresholds specifically set forth in such agreements). In addition, Braemar’s board of directors has established a Related Party Transaction Committee comprised solely of independent members of Braemar’s board of directors to review all related party transactions that involve conflicts. The Related Party Transaction Committee may make recommendations to the independent members of Braemar’s board of directors (including rejection of any proposed transaction). All related party transactions are approved by either the Related Party Transaction Committee or the independent members of Braemar’s board of directors.
Braemar Hotel Management Mutual Exclusivity Agreement
General. In 2014, Braemar entered into a mutual exclusivity agreement with Remington Lodging (then wholly-owned by Mr. Monty J. Bennett and Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr.). Remington Lodging gave Braemar a first right of refusal to purchase any
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lodging-related investments identified by Remington Lodging and any of its affiliates that met Braemar’s initial investment criteria, and Braemar agreed to engage Remington Lodging to provide hotel management, project management and development services for hotels Braemar acquired or invested in, to the extent that Braemar had the right or controlled the right to direct such matters, subject to certain conditions. In connection with the Company’s acquisition of Premier from Remington Lodging in August 2018, Braemar amended and restated the original mutual exclusivity agreement to provide that Remington Lodging gave Braemar a first right of refusal to purchase any lodging-related investments identified by Remington Lodging and any of its affiliates that met Braemar’s initial investment criteria, and Braemar agreed to engage Remington Lodging to provide hotel management for hotels Braemar acquired or invested in, to the extent that Braemar had the right or controlled the right to direct such matters. As a result, concurrently with the Company’s acquisition of Premier, Braemar OP and Remington Lodging entered into the Amended and Restated Braemar Mutual Exclusivity Agreement dated as of August 8, 2018, which agreement we refer to below as the “Braemar hotel management MEA.” In connection with the Company’s subsequent acquisition of Remington Lodging on November 6, 2019, Remington Lodging became a subsidiary of the Company, and the mutual exclusivity agreement between Remington Lodging and Braemar remains in effect.
Term. The initial term of the Braemar hotel management MEA is 10 years from November 19, 2013. This term automatically extends for three additional renewal periods of seven years each and a final renewal period of four years, for a total of up to 35 years. The agreement may be sooner terminated because of:
an event of default (see “Events of Default”),
a party’s early termination rights (see “Early Termination”), or
a termination of all the Braemar master hotel management agreements between TRS lessee and Remington because of an event of default under the Braemar master hotel management agreement that affects all properties (see “Relationship with Braemar Master Hotel Management Agreement”).
Modification of Investment Guidelines. In the event that Braemar materially modifies its initial investment guidelines without the written consent of Remington, which consent may be withheld at its sole and absolute discretion, and may further be subject to the consent of Ashford Trust, Remington will have no obligation to present or offer Braemar investment opportunities at any time thereafter. Instead, Remington, subject to the superior rights of Ashford Trust or any other party with which Remington may have an existing agreement, shall use their reasonable discretion to determine how to allocate investment opportunities it identifies. In the event Braemar materially modifies its investment guidelines without the written consent of Remington, Ashford Trust will have superior rights to investment opportunities identified by Remington, and Braemar will no longer retain preferential treatment to investment opportunities identified by Remington. A material modification for this purpose means any modification of Braemar’s initial investment guidelines to be competitive with Ashford Trust’s investment guidelines.
Our Exclusivity Rights. Remington and Mr. Monty J. Bennett have granted Braemar a first right of refusal to pursue certain lodging investment opportunities identified by Remington or its affiliates (including Mr. Bennett), including opportunities to buy hotel properties, to buy land and build hotels, or to otherwise invest in hotel properties that satisfy Braemar’s initial investment guidelines and are not considered excluded transactions pursuant to the Braemar hotel management MEA. If investment opportunities are identified and are subject to the Braemar hotel management MEA, and Braemar has not materially modified its initial investment guidelines without the written consent of Remington, then Remington, Mr. Bennett and their affiliates, as the case may be, will not pursue those opportunities (except as described below) and will give Braemar a written notice and description of the investment opportunity, and Braemar will have 10 business days to either accept or reject the investment opportunity. If Braemar rejects the opportunity, Remington may then pursue such investment opportunity, subject to a right of first refusal in favor of Ashford Trust pursuant to an existing agreement between Ashford Trust and Remington, on materially the same terms and conditions as offered to Braemar. If the terms of such investment opportunity materially change, then Remington must offer the revised investment opportunity to Braemar, whereupon Braemar will have 10 business days to either accept or reject the opportunity on the revised terms.
Reimbursement of Costs. If Braemar accepts an investment opportunity from Remington, Braemar will be obligated to reimburse Remington or its affiliates for the actual out-of-pocket and third-party costs and expenses paid by Remington or its affiliates in connection with such investment opportunity, including any earnest money deposits, but excluding any finder’s fee, brokerage fee, development fee or other compensation paid by Remington or its affiliates. Remington must submit to Braemar an accounting of the costs in reasonable detail.
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Exclusivity Rights of Remington. If Braemar elects to pursue an investment opportunity that consists of the management and operation of a hotel property, Braemar will hire Remington to provide such services unless Braemar’s independent directors either (i) unanimously elect not to engage Remington, or (ii) by a majority vote, elect not to engage Remington because they have determined, in their reasonable business judgment, (A) special circumstances exist such that it would be in Braemar’s best interest not to engage Remington for the particular hotel, or (B) based on the prior performance of Remington, another manager or developer could perform the management duties materially better than Remington for the particular hotel. In return, Remington has agreed that it will provide those services.
Excluded Investment Opportunities. The following are excluded from the Braemar hotel management MEA and are not subject to any exclusivity rights or right of first refusal:
With respect to Remington, an investment opportunity where Braemar’s independent directors have unanimously voted not to engage Remington as the manager or developer.
With respect to Remington, an investment opportunity where Braemar’s independent directors, by a majority vote, have elected not to engage Remington as the manager or developer based on their determination, in their reasonable business judgment, that special circumstances exist such that it would be in Braemar’s best interest not to engage Remington with respect to the particular hotel.
With respect to Remington, an investment opportunity where Braemar’s independent directors, by a majority vote, have elected not to engage Remington as the manager or developer because they have determined, in their reasonable business judgment, that another manager or developer could perform the management, development or other duties materially better than Remington for the particular hotel, based on Remington’s prior performance.
Existing hotel investments of Remington or its affiliates with any of their existing joint venture partners, investors or property owners.
Existing bona fide arm’s length third-party management arrangements (or arrangements for other services) of Remington or any of its affiliates with third parties other than Braemar and its affiliates.
Like-kind exchanges made pursuant to existing contractual obligations by any of the existing joint venture partners, investors or property owners in which Remington or its affiliates have an ownership interest, provided that Remington provides Braemar with notice 10 days prior to such transaction.
Management or Development. If Braemar hires Remington to manage or operate a hotel, it will be pursuant to the terms of the Braemar master hotel management agreement agreed to between Braemar and Remington.
Events of Default. Each of the following is a default under the Braemar hotel management MEA:
Braemar or Remington experience a bankruptcy-related event;
Braemar fails to reimburse Remington as described under “Reimbursement of Costs,” subject to a 30-day cure period; and
Braemar or Remington does not observe or perform any other term of the agreement, subject to a 30-day cure period (which may be increased to a maximum of 120 days in certain instances).
If a default occurs, the non-defaulting party will have the option of terminating the Braemar hotel management MEA subject to 30 days’ written notice and pursuing its rights and remedies under applicable law.
Early Termination. Remington has the right to terminate the exclusivity rights granted to Braemar if:
Mr. Monty J. Bennett is removed as Braemar’s chairman of its board of directors or is not re-appointed to such position, or he resigns as chairman of its board of directors;
Braemar terminates the Remington exclusivity rights pursuant to the terms of the Braemar hotel management MEA; or
Braemar’s advisory agreement with Ashford LLC is terminated for any reason pursuant to its terms and Mr. Monty J. Bennett is no longer serving as Braemar’s chairman of its board of directors.
Braemar may terminate the exclusivity rights granted to Remington if:
Remington fails to qualify as an “eligible independent contractor” as defined in Section 856(d)(9) of the Internal Revenue Code and for that reason, Braemar terminates the Braemar master hotel management agreement with Remington;
Braemar experiences a change in control and terminates the Braemar master hotel management agreement between Braemar and Remington with respect to all hotels and have paid a termination fee equal to the product of (i) 65% of the
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aggregate management fees budgeted in the annual operating budget applied to the hotels for the full current fiscal year in which such termination is to occur for such hotels (both base fees and incentive fees, but in no event less than the base fees and incentive fees for the preceding full fiscal year) and (ii) nine;
the Remington parties terminate Braemar’s exclusivity rights pursuant to the terms of the Braemar hotel management MEA; or
Braemar’s advisory agreement with Ashford LLC is terminated for any reason pursuant to its terms and Mr. Monty J. Bennett is no longer serving as Braemar’s chairman of its board of directors.
Assignment. The Braemar hotel management MEA may not be assigned by any of the parties without the prior written consent of the other parties, provided that Remington can assign its interest in the Braemar hotel management MEA, without the written consent of the other parties, to a “manager affiliate entity” as that term is defined in the agreement, so long as such affiliate qualifies as an “eligible independent contractor” at the time of such transfer.
Relationship with Braemar Master Hotel Management Agreement. The rights provided to Braemar and to Remington in the Braemar hotel management MEA may be terminated if the Braemar master hotel management agreement between Braemar and Remington terminates in its entirety because of an event of default as to all of the then-managed properties. A termination of Remington’s management rights with respect to one or more hotels (but not all hotels) does not terminate the Braemar hotel management MEA. A termination of the Braemar hotel management MEA does not terminate the Braemar master hotel management agreement either in part or in whole, and the Braemar master hotel management agreement would continue in accordance with its terms as to the hotels covered, despite a termination of the Braemar hotel management MEA.
Braemar Project Management Agreement
Remington Lodging had previously entered into a Hotel Master Management Agreement dated November 19, 2013 (the “Braemar Original Master Management Agreement”) with Braemar TRS Corporation, a subsidiary of Braemar OP (“Braemar TRS”), pursuant to which Remington Lodging provided Braemar TRS both hotel management services and project management services with respect to hotels owned or leased by Braemar TRS.
In connection with the Company’s acquisition of Premier from Remington Lodging, the parties divided the Braemar Original Master Management Agreement into: (i) an agreement between Braemar and Remington Lodging with respect to the provision of hotel management services to Braemar TRS (which was effectuated by amending and restating the Braemar Original Master Management Agreement to provide only hotel management services) and (ii) an agreement among Braemar TRS, Braemar OP and Premier with respect to the provision of project management services to Braemar TRS, solely in order to effect the transfer of the project management business to Premier. As a result, concurrently with the acquisition of Premier, Braemar TRS, Braemar OP and Premier entered into the Braemar Master Project Management Agreement dated as of August 8, 2018 (the “Braemar Project Management Agreement”).
Pursuant to the Braemar Project Management Agreement, Braemar TRS has appointed Premier as its sole, exclusive and continuing manager to manage, coordinate, plan and execute the capital improvement budget and all major repositionings of hotels owned or managed by Braemar TRS (collectively, “Braemar Hotels”) and to provide Project Services.
The Braemar Project Management Agreement provides that Premier shall be paid a project management fee equal to four percent of the total project costs associated with the implementation of the capital improvement budget (both hard and soft) payable monthly in arrears based upon the prior calendar month’s total expenditures under the capital improvement budget until such time that the capital improvement budget and/or renovation project involves the expenditure of an amount in excess of five percent of the gross revenues of the applicable Braemar Hotel, whereupon the project management fee shall be reduced to three percent of the total project costs in excess of the five percent of gross revenue threshold. In addition, the Braemar Project Management Agreement provides that Premier shall also provide to Braemar Hotels the following services and shall be paid the following fees: (i) architectural (6.5% of total construction costs); (ii) construction management for projects without a general contractor (10% of total construction costs); (iii) interior design (6% of the purchase price of the property and equipment designed or selected by Premier); and (iv) property and equipment purchasing (8% of the purchase price of property and equipment purchased by Premier; provided that if the purchase price exceeds $2.0 million for a single hotel in a calendar year, then the purchasing fee is reduced to 6% of the property and equipment purchase price in excess of $2.0 million for such hotel in such calendar year).
The Braemar Project Management Agreement provides for an initial term of 10 years as to each hotel governed by the agreement. The term may be renewed by Premier, at its option, for three successive periods of seven years each and, thereafter, a final term of four years, provided that at the time the option to renew is exercised, Premier is not then in default under the Braemar Project Management Agreement. In certain cases of early termination of the Braemar Project Management Agreement
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with respect to one or more of the hotels, Braemar must pay Premier termination fees as described in the Braemar Project Management Agreement, plus any amounts otherwise due to Premier.
The foregoing descriptions of the Amended and Restated Mutual Exclusivity Agreement with Remington Lodging, Mutual Exclusivity Agreements with Braemar and Ashford Trust, and Master Project Management Agreements with Braemar and Ashford Trust are qualified in their entirety by reference to the agreements, which have been included as exhibits to other documents filed with the SEC and are incorporated by reference to this Form 10-K.
Braemar Project Management Mutual Exclusivity Agreement
Remington Lodging had previously entered into a Mutual Exclusivity Agreement dated November 19, 2013 (the “Braemar Original Mutual Exclusivity Agreement”) with Braemar and Braemar OP. Under the Braemar Original Mutual Exclusivity Agreement, Remington Lodging gave Braemar a first right of refusal to purchase any lodging-related investments identified by Remington Lodging and any of its affiliates that met Braemar’s initial investment criteria, and Braemar agreed to engage Remington Lodging to provide hotel management, development and construction, capital improvement, refurbishment, project management and other services, such as purchasing, interior design, freight management, and construction management, for hotels Braemar acquired or invested in, to the extent that Braemar had the right or controlled the right to direct such matters, subject to certain conditions.
In connection with the Company’s acquisition of Premier from Remington Lodging, the parties divided the Braemar Original Mutual Exclusivity Agreement into: (i) an agreement among Braemar, Braemar OP and Remington Lodging with respect to the provision of hotel management services to Braemar (which was effectuated by amending and restating the Braemar Original Mutual Exclusivity Agreement to require Braemar to engage Remington Lodging only with respect to hotel management services) and (ii) an agreement among Braemar, Braemar OP and Premier with respect to the provision of development and construction, capital improvement, refurbishment, project management and other services, such as purchasing, interior design, freight management, and construction management, to Braemar, solely in order to effect the transfer of the project management business to Premier. As a result, concurrently with the acquisition of Premier, Braemar, Braemar OP and Premier entered into the Braemar Mutual Exclusivity Agreement dated as of August 8, 2018 (the “Braemar Mutual Exclusivity Agreement”).
Pursuant to the Braemar Mutual Exclusivity Agreement, Premier has given Braemar a first right of refusal to purchase any lodging-related investments identified by Premier and any of its affiliates that meet Braemar’s initial investment criteria, and Braemar has agreed to engage Premier to provide development and construction, capital improvement, refurbishment, project management and other services, such as purchasing, interior design, freight management, and construction management, for hotels Braemar acquires or invests in, to the extent that Braemar has the right or controls the right to direct such matters, unless Braemar’s independent directors either: (i) unanimously vote not to hire Premier; or (ii) based on special circumstances or past performance, by a majority vote elect not to engage Premier because they had determined, in their reasonable business judgment, that it would not be in Braemar’s best interest to engage Premier or that another manager or developer could perform the project management or development duties materially better.
The Braemar Mutual Exclusivity Agreement provides for an initial term until November 19, 2023. The initial term will be automatically extended for three successive periods of seven years each and, thereafter, a final term of four years, provided that at the time of any such extension an event of default under the Braemar Mutual Exclusivity Agreement does not exist.
Our Investor Rights Agreement, Merger and Registration Rights Agreement, Non-Competition Agreement, Transition Cost Sharing Agreement and Hotel Services Agreement with the Bennetts
Investor Rights Agreement
In connection with the acquisition of the hotel management business conducted by Remington Lodging which closed on November 6, 2019, the Company, Mr. Monty J. Bennett, Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr., MJB Investments, LP, Mr. James L. Cowen, Mr. Jeremy Walter, Mr. Mark A. Sharkey, Ms. Marissa A. Bennett and other related parties entered into an investor rights agreement (the “Investor Rights Agreement”) governing the relationship of such parties subsequent to such closing. The Investor Rights Agreement supersedes and replaces the previously existing investor rights agreement, dated August 8, 2018, in all respects.
Board Designation Rights. For so long as the holders of Series D Convertible Preferred Stock (together with each person that succeeds to their respective interests as the result of a transfer permitted under the Investor Rights Agreement, the “Covered Investors”) beneficially own no less than 20% of the issued and outstanding shares of our common stock (taking into account the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock on an as-converted basis), Mr. Monty J. Bennett, during his lifetime, and the Covered Investors holding 55% of the common stock (taking into account the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock on an as-
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converted basis held by all Covered Investors) thereafter, will be entitled to nominate one individual (other than Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr.), and Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr., during his lifetime, and the Covered Investors holding 55% of the common stock (taking into account the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock on an as-converted basis held by all Covered Investors) thereafter, will be entitled to nominate one individual (other than Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr.) for election as a member of our board of directors of (each, a “Seller Nominee”). Initially, Mr. Monty J. Bennett will serve as the Seller Nominee of Mr. Monty J. Bennett, and Mr. W. Michael Murphy will serve as the Seller Nominee of Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr.
In the event we fail to pay the accrued preferred dividends on the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for two consecutive quarterly periods, the Covered Investors agree that one of the two additional board designation rights arising under the Certificate of Designation (as defined below) shall be vested in Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr., during his lifetime, and the other such board designation right shall be vested in Mr. Monty J. Bennett, during his lifetime. In furtherance of the foregoing, each Covered Investor agrees that it will vote all of such Covered Investor’s Series D Convertible Preferred Stock, and consent to any action by the holders of the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock without a meeting as permitted under appropriate state law, as may be directed Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr., or Mr. Monty J. Bennett, respectively, in connection with their designation of the individuals to fill such board seats.
Transfer Restrictions. For five years after the closing of the Transactions, each of the Covered Investors are prohibited from transferring our common stock or Series D Convertible Preferred Stock to any person that is or would become, together with such person’s affiliates and associates, a beneficial owner of 10% or more of the then outstanding shares of our common stock, taking into account the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock on an as converted basis, except (i) to family members and in connection with estate planning, (ii) as a result of any voting agreement between Mr. Monty J. Bennett and Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr., (iii) transfers in which no transferee (or group of affiliated or associated transferees) would purchase or receive 2% or more of the outstanding voting shares of the Company, (iv) in connection with any widespread public distribution of shares of our common stock or Series D Convertible Preferred Stock registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), or (v) a transfer to any transferee that would beneficially own more than 50% of our outstanding common stock and Series D Convertible Preferred Stock without any transfer from a Covered Investor, unless such transfer restrictions have been waived by the affirmative vote of the majority of our stockholders that are not affiliates or associates of the Covered Investors.
Voting Limitations. The Investor Rights Agreement provides that the Covered Investors agree that on matters submitted to a vote of the holders of voting securities of the Company, the Covered Investors will have the right to vote or direct or cause the vote of the shares as to which they hold sole voting power or are held by immediate family members (or a trust for the benefit of such person) (collectively, the “Sole Voting Shares”) as the Covered Investors determine, in their sole discretion, except (i) if, prior to August 8, 2023 only with respect to the voting securities of the Company, the combined voting power of the Reference Shares (as defined below) of the Company exceeds 40.0% (plus the combined voting power of (A) any common stock of the Company purchased by any Covered Investor in an arm’s length transaction after the closing of the Transactions from a person other than the Company or a subsidiary of the Company, for cash, including through open market purchases, and (B) privately negotiated transactions or any distributions of our common stock by either of Ashford Trust or Braemar to its respective stockholders pro rata) of the combined voting power of all of our outstanding voting securities entitled to vote on any given matter, then Reference Shares of the Company representing voting power equal to such excess will be deemed to be “Company Cleansed Shares” under the Investor Rights Agreement. The Covered Investors agree that they will vote, or cause to be voted, out of the Covered Investors’ Sole Voting Shares, shares constituting voting power equal to the voting power of the Company Cleansed Shares in the same proportion as the holders of such class or series of voting securities of the Company vote their shares with respect to such matters, exclusive of the Reference Shares of the Company voted by the Covered Investors. These restrictions may be waived by a majority vote or consent of our independent directors that have no personal interest in the matter to be voted upon. “Reference Shares” means all voting securities the Company that are (without duplication): (i) beneficially owned by any Covered Investor, including any such voting securities as to which any Covered Investor has sole or shared voting power; (ii) beneficially owned by any member of a Group of which any Covered Investor is a member; or (iii) subject to or referenced in any derivative or synthetic interest that (A) conveys any voting right in our common stock or (B) is required to be, or is capable of being, settled through delivery of our common stock in either case, that is held or beneficially owned by any Covered Investor or any controlled affiliate or any Covered Investor. The Covered Investors also agree among themselves that the total number of votes attributable to Reference Shares that are not Cleansed Shares will be proportionately allocated among the Covered Investors based on a percentage, the numerator of which is the number of Reference Shares held by such Covered Investor, and the denominator of which is the total number of Reference Shares held by all Covered Investors in the aggregate.
The Holder Group Investors (as defined below) will not, subject to certain exceptions and until the aggregate voting power of the Holder Group Investors is less than 25% of the combined voting power of all of the outstanding voting securities of the Company on any given matter, until the fifth anniversary of the closing of the Transactions: (i) take any action, vote such Holder Group Investor’s securities, or into any transaction, including by acting in consent with another person, that would result
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in the Company being treated as a “controlled company” under the applicable rules of the NYSE American nor (ii) take any action, vote such Holder Group Investor’s securities, or into any transaction, including by acting in concert with another person, that results in the Company engaging in a Rule 13e-3 Transaction (as defined in the rules and regulations issued by the SEC under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”)), provided, that the restriction set forth in this clause (ii) may be waived by the affirmative vote of a majority of the issued and outstanding shares of our voting stock (taking into account the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock on an as-converted basis) that are not beneficially owned by the Holder Group Investors (provided that, for purposes of clause (ii), our voting stock that is owned of record by Ashford Trust or Braemar shall not be deemed to be beneficially owned by the Holder Group Investors so long as the decision to vote such shares on such waiver is solely determined by a majority of the members of the board of directors of the applicable entity who are independent within the meaning of applicable rules of the NYSE American (or any exchange on which our voting stock is then listed) and do not have a material financial interest in such Rule 13e-3 Transaction (or a duly appointed board committee consisting only of such independent and disinterested board members)).
Put Option. Each Covered Investor has the option, exercisable with respect to each and every Change of Control (defined below) that may occur following the date of the Investor Rights Agreement, to sell to the Company all or any portion of the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock then owned by such Covered Investor (the “Change of Control Put Option”) at any time during the ten business day consecutive period following the consummation of a Change of Control. “Change of Control” means, with respect to any Covered Investor, any of the following, in each case that was not voted for or consented to by such Covered Investor solely in its capacity as a stockholder of the Company (but not in any other capacity): (i) any person (other than Mr. Monty J. Bennett, Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr., MJB Investments, LP their controlled affiliates, any trust or other estate in which any of them has a substantial beneficial interest or as to which any of them serves as trustee or in a similar fiduciary capacity, any immediate family member of Mr. Monty J. Bennett or Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr., or any group (as defined in Rule 13d-5(b) under the Exchange Act)) acquires beneficial ownership of securities of the Company that, together with the securities of the Company previously beneficially owned by the first such person, constitutes more than 50% of the total voting power of our outstanding securities, or (ii) the sale, lease, transfer or other disposition (other than as collateral) of all or a majority of our (taken as a whole) assets or income or revenue generating capacity, other than to any direct or indirect majority-owned and controlled affiliate of the Company.
In the event that a Covered Investor exercises the Change of Control Put Option, the price to be paid by the Company to such exercising Covered Investor will be an amount, payable in cash or our common stock (at the election of such Covered Investor), equal to (i)$25.125, plus (ii) all accrued and unpaid dividends, plus (iii) in the event that a Change of Control Put Option is exercised prior to June 30, 2026, an additional amount equal to, initially, 24% of $25 until the first anniversary of the closing of the Transactions, with such percentage reduced by (A) 4% for each year thereafter, inclusive of the year in which the Change of Control Put Option is exercised, until the fourth anniversary of the closing of the Transactions and (B) 3% for each year thereafter until the sixth anniversary of the closing of the Transactions, at which time such percentage shall be 3% until June 30, 2026.
Preemptive Rights. The Investor Rights Agreement also provides that, except for issuances contemplated by the transaction documents entered into under the Combination Agreement, we will not issue any equity securities, rights to acquire equity securities of the Company or debt convertible into equity securities of the Company (collectively, the “New Securities”), unless we give the Bennetts and each person that succeeds to the interests of the Bennetts and certain permitted transferees (“Holder Group Investors”) notice of its respective intention to issue New Securities and the right of such Holder Group Investor to acquire such Holder Group Investor’s pro rata share of the New Securities.
Termination. The Investor Rights Agreement terminates by its terms on the earliest of (i) the written agreement of the Company and the Covered Investors holding in the aggregate 55% of the total number of shares of our common stock (taking into account the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock on an as converted basis) and (ii) the date on which the Covered Investors no longer own any of our common stock or Series D Convertible Preferred Stock; provided certain specified provisions will last for the time periods provided by their terms, and others will last indefinitely.
A Covered Investor will automatically cease to be bound by the Investor Rights Agreement solely in its capacity as a Covered Investor at such time as such Covered Investor no longer owns any of our common stock or any Series D Convertible Preferred Stock.
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Merger and Registration Rights Agreement
In connection with the acquisition of the hotel management business conducted by Remington Lodging which closed on November 6, 2019, the Company, Ashford Merger Sub Inc., the Bennetts and the Covered Investors entered into the Merger and Registration Rights Agreement (the “Merger Agreement”). Pursuant to the Merger Agreement, the Company filed a registration statement on March 5, 2020 under the Securities Act to permit the resale of the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock and our common stock into which the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock is convertible. The registration statement was declared effective on March 12, 2020. We will use commercially reasonable efforts to cause the registration statement to remain available for the resale of the securities covered by the registration statements. In certain circumstances, including at any time that we are in possession of material nonpublic information, we will have the right to suspend sales under the registration statement.
Non-Competition Agreement
In connection with the acquisition of the hotel management business conducted by Remington Lodging which closed on November 6, 2019, the Company and the Bennetts entered into a non-competition agreement (the “Non-Competition Agreement”). Subject to certain exclusions, the Non-Competition Agreement provides that for a period of the later of five years following the closing of the Transactions, or three years following the date on which Mr. Monty J. Bennett is no longer our principal executive officer, each of Mr. Monty J. Bennett and Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr. will not, and will cause its controlled affiliates not to, directly or indirectly (i) engage in, or have an interest in a person that engages directly or indirectly in, (a) the hotel management business conducted by Remington and its subsidiaries within the lodging industry, including hotel operations, sales and marketing, revenue management, budget oversight, guest service, asset maintenance (not involving capital expenditures) and related services conducted by Remington and its subsidiaries or (b) the project management business conducted by Premier, within the lodging industry, including construction management, interior design, architecture, and the purchasing, expediting, warehousing, freight management, installation and supervision of property and equipment, and related services, in each case in clause (a) or (b) anywhere in the United States (excluding certain passive investments and existing relationships); or (ii) intentionally interfere in any material respect with the business relationships between Remington, Premier and their respective customers, clients or vendors. Notwithstanding the foregoing, each of the Bennetts may, among other things, (A) freely pursue any opportunity to acquire ownership, directly or indirectly, in any interests in real properties in the lodging industry if such opportunity has been presented to the board of each of the Company, Ashford Trust and Braemar and none of the foregoing elect to pursue or participate in such opportunity and (B) with respect to any hotel properties in which the Bennetts, or any of their controlled affiliates, own, directly or indirectly (other than through their ownership interests in Ashford Trust or Braemar), in the aggregate at least a 5% interest (such hotel properties, “Bennett-Owned Properties”), each Bennett, and any of his controlled affiliates, directly or indirectly: (x) may self-manage the provision of hotel management business services or project management business services to such Bennett-Owned Properties, but may not provide any such services to any other hotels not constituting Bennett-Owned Properties, or (y) may require that the Company provide hotel management business services and project management business services pursuant to the terms of the Hotel Services Agreement (as defined below).
Transition Cost Sharing Agreement
In connection with the acquisition of the hotel management business conducted by Remington Lodging which closed on November 6, 2019, the Bennetts entered into a transition cost sharing agreement (the “Transition Cost Sharing Agreement”) with us, pursuant to which the Company and Remington will provide the Bennetts with family office related services, including accounting, tax, legal and general office and administrative support services (collectively, the “Services”) generally in accordance with Remington’s past practice prior to the closing. The Bennetts will pay to the Company and Remington the actual costs incurred by the Company and Remington, including salaries, employment taxes and benefits applicable to the employees of the Company and Remington providing the Services, based on the percentage of time spent by such employees in providing the Services, relative to the time spent by such employees on matters not related to the Services, plus applicable allocated overhead and other expenses incurred, in each case without mark-up. Subject to certain exceptions, the Services are required to be provided by the Company and Remington until the last to occur of: (i) the tenth anniversary of the date of the Transition Cost Sharing Agreement; (ii) the death of Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr. and (iii) 30 days following the date on which Mr. Monty J. Bennett is no longer employed by us as our chief executive officer, or substantially similar executive position, or ceases to serve as a member of our board of directors.
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Hotel Services Agreement
In connection with the acquisition of the hotel management business conducted by Remington Lodging which closed on November 6, 2019, the Bennetts entered into a hotel services agreement (the “Hotel Services Agreement”) with us, pursuant to which we will provide specified hotel project management and hotel management services to any hotel in which the Bennetts, in the aggregate, directly or indirectly (other than through their ownership of interests in Ashford Trust and Braemar) own at least a 5% interest, in exchange for fees in an amount equal to the cost of such services provided plus 5%, until the last to occur of: (i) the tenth anniversary of the commencement of services or (ii) the death of Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr. and Mr. Monty J. Bennett.
Agreements with Lismore
Lismore Agreement with Ashford Trust
On March 20, 2020, Lismore, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company, entered into an agreement to seek modifications, forbearances or refinancings of Ashford Trust’s loans (the “Ashford Trust Agreement”). Pursuant to the Ashford Trust Agreement, Lismore shall, during the term of the agreement (which commenced on March 20, 2020 and shall end on the date that is twelve months following the commencement date, or upon it being terminated by Ashford Trust on not less than thirty days written notice) negotiate the refinancing, modification or forbearance of the existing mortgage debt on Ashford Trust’s hotels. For the purposes of the Ashford Trust Agreement, financing shall include, without limitation, senior or subordinate loan financing, provided in any single transaction or a combination of transactions, including, mortgage loan financing, mezzanine loan financing, or subordinate loan financing encumbering the applicable hotel or unsecured loan financing.
On July 1, 2020, Lismore and Ashford Trust amended and restated the Ashford Trust Agreement with an effective date of April 6, 2020. Pursuant to the amended and restated agreement, the term of the agreement was extended to 24 months following the commencement date. In connection with the services to be provided by Lismore under the amended and restated agreement, Lismore received a fee of $2.6 million in three equal installments of $857,000 per month beginning July 20, 2020, and ending on September 20, 2020. Lismore is also entitled to receive a fee that is calculated and payable as follows: (i) a fee equal to 25 basis points (0.25%) of the amount of a loan, payable upon the acceptance by the applicable lender of any forbearance or extension of such loan, or in the case where a third-party agent or contractor engaged by Ashford Trust has secured an extension of the maturity date equal to or greater than 12 months of any such loan, then the amount payable to Lismore shall be reduced to 10 basis points (0.10%); (ii) a fee equal to 75 basis points (0.75%) of the amount of any principal reduction of a loan upon the acceptance by any lender of any principal reduction of such loan; and (iii) a fee equal to 150 basis points (1.50%) of the implied conversion value (but in any case, no less than 50% of the face value of such loan or loans) of a loan upon the acceptance by any lender of any debt to equity conversion of such loan.
At the time of amendment, Lismore had been paid approximately $8.3 million, in the aggregate, pursuant to the original agreement. Under the amended and restated agreement, Ashford Trust is still entitled, in the event that Ashford Trust does not complete, for any reason, extensions or forbearances during the term of the agreement equal to or greater than approximately $4.1 billion, to offset, against any fees Ashford Trust or its affiliates owe pursuant to the advisory agreement, a portion of the fee previously paid by Ashford Trust to Lismore equal to the product of (x) approximately $4.1 billion minus the amount of extensions or forbearances completed during the term of the agreement multiplied by (y) 0.125%.
Lismore Agreement with Braemar
On March 20, 2020, Lismore entered into an agreement to seek modifications, forbearances or refinancings of Braemar’s loans (the “Braemar Agreement”). Pursuant to the Braemar Agreement, Lismore shall, during the term of the agreement (which commenced on March 20, 2020 and shall end on the date that is twelve months following the commencement date, or upon it being terminated by Braemar on not less than thirty days written notice) negotiate the refinancing, modification or forbearance of the existing mortgage and mezzanine debt on Braemar’s hotels. For the purposes of the Braemar Agreement, financing shall include, without limitation, senior or subordinate loan financing, provided in any single transaction or a combination of transactions, including, mortgage loan financing, mezzanine loan financing, or subordinate loan financing encumbering the applicable hotel or unsecured loan financing.
In connection with the services provided by Lismore, Lismore shall be paid an advisory fee of up to 50 basis points (0.50%) of the aggregate amount of the modifications, forbearances or refinancings, of Braemar’s mortgage and mezzanine debt and Braemar’s secured revolving credit facility (the “Braemar Financings”) calculated and payable as follows: (i) 0.125% of the aggregate amount of potential Braemar Financings upon execution of the Braemar Agreement; (ii) 0.125% payable in six equal installments beginning April 20, 2020 and ending on September 20, 2020; provided, however, in the event Braemar does not complete, for any reason, Braemar Financings during the term of the Braemar Agreement equal to or greater than $1.1 billion, then Braemar shall offset, against any fees owed by Braemar or its affiliates pursuant to the advisory agreement, a portion of the
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fee paid by Braemar to Lismore pursuant to this section equal to the product of (x) the amount of Braemar Financings completed during the term of the Braemar Agreement minus $1.1 billion multiplied by (y) 0.125%; and (iii) 25 basis points (0.25%) payable upon the acceptance by the applicable lender of any Braemar Financing.
Regulation
General. The Company, Ashford Trust, and Braemar, as applicable, are subject, in certain circumstances, to supervision and regulation by state and federal governmental authorities and are subject to various laws and judicial and administrative decisions imposing various requirements and restrictions, which, among other things regulate public disclosures, reporting obligations and capital raising activity. As an advisor to companies that own hotel properties, the operations and properties of such entities are subject to various federal, state and local laws, ordinances and regulations, including regulations relating to common areas and fire and safety requirements.
REIT Regulations. Each of Ashford Trust and Braemar has elected and is qualified and expects to continue to qualify to be taxed as a REIT under Section 856 through 860 of the Code. As REITs, such companies must currently distribute, at a minimum, an amount equal to 90% of their taxable income. In addition, such companies must distribute 100% of taxable income to avoid paying corporate federal income taxes. REITs are also subject to a number of organizational and operational requirements in order to elect and maintain REIT status. These requirements include specific share ownership tests and assets and gross income composition tests. If either Ashford Trust or Braemar fails to continue to qualify as a REIT in any taxable year, it is subject to federal income tax (including any applicable alternative minimum tax) on its taxable income at regular corporate tax rates. Even if such companies continue to qualify for taxation as REITs, they may be subject to state and local income taxes and to federal income tax and excise tax on their undistributed income.
Americans with Disabilities Act. As the advisor to Ashford Trust and Braemar, we are responsible for ensuring that the hotels owned by such entities comply with applicable provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”) to the extent that such hotels are “public accommodations” as defined by the ADA. Non-compliance with the ADA could result in imposition of fines or an award of damages to private litigants. The obligation to make readily achievable accommodations is an ongoing one, and we continue to assess the hotels and to advise Ashford Trust or Braemar, as applicable, to make alterations as appropriate in this respect.
Affordable Care Act. Changes in laws and regulations could reduce our profits or increase our costs. We are subject to a variety of laws, regulations and policies including the employer mandate provisions of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). which imposes penalties on employers failing to offer affordable, minimum value health care coverage to substantially all full-time equivalent employees and their dependents. We do not anticipate incurring any significant penalties under the ACA. Any such penalty would be based on the number of full-time employees. As of December 31, 2020, we had 99 full-time domestic corporate employees and approximately 5,100 employees at our consolidated subsidiaries that provide products and services to the lodging industry.
Environmental Matters. Under various laws relating to the protection of the environment, a current or previous owner or operator (including tenants) of real estate may be liable for contamination resulting from the presence or discharge of hazardous or toxic substances at that property and may be required to investigate and clean up such contamination at that property or emanating from that property. These costs could be substantial and liability under these laws may attach without regard to whether the owner or operator knew of, or was responsible for, the presence of the contaminants, and the liability may be joint and several. The presence of contamination or the failure to remediate contamination at the hotels owned by Ashford Trust or Braemar may expose such entities, and potentially us, to third-party liability or materially and adversely affect the ability to sell, lease or develop the real estate or to incur debt using the real estate as collateral.
The hotels owned by Ashford Trust and Braemar are subject to various federal, state, and local environmental, health and safety laws and regulations that address a wide variety of issues, including, but not limited to, storage tanks, air emissions from emergency generators, storm water and wastewater discharges, lead-based paint, mold and mildew and waste management. These hotels incur costs to comply with these laws and regulations, and we or the property owners could be subject to fines and penalties for non-compliance.
Some of these hotels may contain or develop harmful mold or suffer from other adverse conditions, which could lead to liability for adverse health effects and costs of remediation. The presence of significant mold or other airborne contaminants at any of the hotels owned by Ashford Trust or Braemar could require a costly remediation program to contain or remove the mold or other airborne contaminants from the affected hotel or increase indoor ventilation. In addition, the presence of significant mold or other airborne contaminants could expose us to liability from guests or employees at the hotels and others if property damage or health concerns arise.
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In the judgment of management, while we may incur significant expense complying with the various regulation to which we are subject, existing statutes and regulations will not have a material adverse effect on our business. However, it is not possible to forecast the nature of future legislation, regulations, judicial decisions, orders or interpretations, nor their impact upon our future business, financial condition, results of operations or prospects.
Distributions and Our Distribution Policy
Evaluation of our distribution policy and the decision to make a distribution is made solely at the discretion of our board of directors and is based on factors including, but not limited to, our ability to generate income, availability of existing cash balances, the performance of our business, capital requirements, applicable law, access to cash in the capital markets and other financing sources, general economic conditions and economic conditions that more specifically impact our business or prospects and other factors our board of directors deems relevant.
Future distribution levels are subject to adjustment based upon any one or more of the factors set forth above, the matters discussed under “Item 1A. Risk Factors” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K or any other document we file with the SEC under the Exchange Act and other factors that our board of directors may, from time to time, deem relevant to consider when determining an appropriate distribution. Our board of directors may also determine not to make any distribution.
Competition
The asset management industry is highly competitive. We compete on an industry, regional and niche basis based on a number of factors, including ability to raise capital, investment opportunities and performance, transaction execution skills, access to and retention of qualified personnel, reputation, range of products, innovation and fees for our services. Our clients compete with many third parties engaged in the hotel industry, including other hotel operating companies, ownership companies (including hotel REITs) and national and international hotel brands. Some of these competitors, including other REITs and private real estate companies and funds may have substantially greater financial and operational resources than Ashford Trust or Braemar and may have greater knowledge of the markets in which we seek to invest. Such competitors may also enjoy significant competitive advantages that result from, among other things, a lower cost of capital and enhanced operating efficiencies. Future competition from new market entrants may limit the number of suitable investment opportunities offered to Ashford Trust and Braemar. It may also result in higher prices, lower yields and a more narrow margin over the borrowing cost for Ashford Trust and Braemar, making it more difficult to originate or acquire new investments on attractive terms. Certain competitors may also be subject to different regulatory regimes or rules that may provide them more flexibility or better access to pursue potential investments and raise capital for their managed companies. In addition, certain competitors may have higher risk tolerance, different risk assessment or a lower return threshold, which could allow them to consider a broader range of investments and to bid more aggressively for investment opportunities that we may want to pursue.
Ashford Trust and Braemar each compete with many third parties engaged in the hotel industry. Competition in the hotel industry is based on a number of factors, most notably convenience of location, brand affiliation, price, range of services, guest amenities or accommodations offered and quality of customer service. Competition is often specific to the individual markets in which properties are located and includes competition from existing and new hotels. We believe that hotels that are affiliated with leading national brands, such as the Marriott or Hilton brands, will enjoy the competitive advantages associated with operating under such brands. Increased competition could have a material adverse effect on the occupancy rate, average daily room rate and RevPAR of the hotels owned by Ashford Trust or Braemar or may require capital improvements that otherwise would not have to be made, which may result in decreases in the profitability of Ashford Trust or Braemar and decreased advisory fees to us. Since the fees we receive are based in part upon total equity market capitalization and total shareholder returns, such fees are impacted by relative performance of the share price of Ashford Trust and Braemar compared to competitive REITs.
Insurance
We are required under our advisory agreements to maintain errors and omissions insurance coverage and other insurance coverage in amounts which are carried by managers performing functions similar to those we provide.
Human Capital
Our key human capital management objectives are to attract, recruit, hire, develop and promote a deep and diverse bench of talent that translates into a strong and successful workforce. To support these objectives, our human resources programs are designed to develop talent to prepare them for critical roles and leadership positions for the future; reward and support employees through competitive pay and benefit programs; enhance our culture through efforts to foster, promote, and preserve a culture of diversity and inclusion; and evolve and invest in technology, tools, and resources to enable employees at work.
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Employees
At December 31, 2020, we had a total of 99 corporate employees who directly or indirectly perform various acquisition, development, asset and investment management, capital markets, accounting, tax, risk management, legal, redevelopment, and corporate management functions for Ashford Inc., Ashford Trust and Braemar. Employees at our consolidated subsidiaries provide hospitality products and services to the lodging industry, including hotel management, project management, event technology and other services. As of December 31, 2020, our consolidated subsidiaries had a total of approximately 5,100 employees of which approximately 2,600 remained furloughed as a result of COVID-19’s impact on our businesses.
Access To Reports and Other Information
We maintain a website at www.ashfordinc.com. On our website, we make available free of charge our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and other 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 the SEC. In addition, our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, Code of Ethics for the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Accounting Officer, Corporate Governance Guidelines, and Board Committee Charters are also available free-of-charge on our website or can be made available in print upon request. All reports filed with the SEC may also be read at the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. We also use our website to distribute company information, and such information may be deemed material. Accordingly, investors should monitor our website, in addition to our press releases, SEC filings and public conference calls and webcasts. The contents of our website are not, however, a part of this report.
A description of any substantive amendment or waiver of our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics or our Code of Ethics for our chief executive officer, chief financial officer and chief accounting officer will be disclosed on our website under the Corporate Governance section. Any such description will be located on our website for a period of 12 months following the amendment or waiver.
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Item 1A. Risk Factors
Summary Risk Factors
Our business is subject to a number of risks, including risks that may prevent us from achieving our business objectives or may adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows, and prospects. These risks are discussed more fully below and include, but are not limited to, risks related to:
adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a significant reduction in business and personal travel and potential travel restrictions in regions where our clients’ hotels are located, and one or more possible recurrences of COVID-19 cases causing a further reduction in business and personal travel and potential reinstatement of travel restrictions by state or local governments;
actions by the lenders of our clients, Ashford Trust and Braemar, to accelerate loan balances and foreclose on our clients’ hotel properties that are security for our clients’ loans that are in default;
our dependence on Ashford Trust and Braemar as our only current asset management clients for a substantial portion of our operating revenues;
uncertainty associated with the ability of the Company to remain in compliance with all covenants in our Term Loan Agreement and our subsidiaries to remain in compliance with the covenants of their debt and related agreements;
general volatility of the capital markets, the general economy or the hospitality industry, whether the result of market events or otherwise, and the market price of our common stock;
availability, terms and deployment of capital;
actual and potential conflicts of interest with or between Ashford Trust and Braemar, our executive officers and our non-independent directors;
the ability of certain affiliated individuals to control significant corporate activities of the Company and their interests may differ from the interests of our other stockholders;
availability of qualified personnel;
changes in governmental regulations, accounting rules, tax rates and similar matters;
legislative and regulatory changes;
the timing and outcome of the SEC investigation;
the possibility that we may not realize any or all of the anticipated benefits from transactions to acquire businesses, including the 2018 acquisition of Premier and the 2019 acquisition of Remington, and the possibility we will be required to record further goodwill impairments relating to Remington as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our clients’, and our, business;
the possibility that the lodging industry may not fully recover to pre-pandemic levels as a result of the acceptance of “work from home” business practices and potentially lasting increased adoption of remote meeting and collaboration technologies;
the possibility that we may not realize any or all of the anticipated benefits from new business initiatives, including the ERFP Agreements with Ashford Trust and Braemar;
the failure to make full dividend payments on our Series D Convertible Preferred Stock in consecutive quarters, which would result in a higher interest rate and the right of Mr. Monty J. Bennett and Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr. to each have the right to appoint one member to the Board until such arrearages are paid in full;
disruptions relating to the acquisition or integration of Premier, Remington or any other business we invest in or acquire, which may harm relationships with customers, employees and regulators;
exposure to risks to which the Company has not historically been exposed, including business risks inherent to the project and hotel management businesses and to leasing real property; and
unexpected costs of further goodwill impairments relating to the acquisition or integration of Premier, Remington or any other business we invest in or acquire.
Risks Related to Our Business
The COVID-19 pandemic has and may continue to significantly and adversely affect our business.
We provide services primarily to clients in the hospitality industry. As a result, our business has and will continue to be significantly and adversely affected by the impact of, and the public perception of a risk of, a pandemic disease on the travel and hospitality industry. In December 2019, COVID-19 was identified in Wuhan, China, subsequently spread to other regions of the world, and has resulted in significant travel restrictions and extended shutdown of certain businesses in affected regions.
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Our clients Ashford Trust and Braemar have reported that the negative impact on room demand within their respective portfolios stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic is significant and has resulted in materially reduced occupancy and RevPAR. Furthermore, the prolonged occurrence of the virus has resulted in health and other government authorities imposing widespread restrictions on travel, resulting in the postponement or cancellation of business conferences and similar events. At this time the restrictions are very fluid and evolving. We have been and will continue to be negatively impacted by those restrictions. Given that the type, degree and length of such restrictions are not known at this time, we cannot predict the overall impact of such restrictions on us or the overall economic environment. One or more possible recurrences of COVID-19 cases could cause a further decrease in business and personal travel, and result in state and local governments reinstating travel restrictions. In addition, even after the restrictions are lifted, the propensity of people to travel and for businesses to hold conferences will likely remain below historical levels for an additional period of time that is difficult to predict. We may also face increased risk of litigation if we have guests or employees who become ill due to COVID-19. Additionally, the public perception of a risk of a pandemic or media coverage of these diseases, or public perception of health risks linked to perceived regional food and beverage safety, may further affect our clients’ businesses, and thereby may adversely affect our business, particularly with respect to: (i) base and incentive fees paid to us by our clients under our advisory agreements (which depend in part on our clients’ market capitalization and business performance at our clients’ hotels, each of which has been significantly negatively impacted by COVID-19); and (ii) revenues generated by our JSAV, Premier and Remington businesses, which depend in significant part on occupancy levels and operating performance at our clients’ hotels.
In addition, during 2020, as a result of our reduced cash flow projections and the significant decline in our market capitalization as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we recorded goodwill impairment charges of $180.8 million, of which $121.0 million related to our Remington segment, $49.5 million related to our Premier segment and $10.2 million related to our JSAV segment. We also recorded intangible asset impairment charges of $8.0 million related to indefinite-lived trademarks within our Remington and JSAV segments. Such impairments have had a significant negative impact on our results of operations. We may need to record additional impairment charges in future periods which would have a negative impact on our results of operation in future periods. Additionally, as a result of this goodwill impairment, we may not continue to meet certain NYSE American continued listing criteria. See “We cannot assure you that our common stock will be liquid or that it will remain listed on the NYSE American exchange. A failure to regain compliance with the NYSE American stockholders’ equity listing requirements or failure to continue to meet the other listing requirements could result in a delisting of our common stock.”
The asset management, advisory and hospitality products and services businesses are highly competitive.
The asset management, advisory and hospitality products and services businesses are highly competitive. Competition in these businesses is driven by a variety of factors including: asset and investment performance; the quality of service provided to the companies we advise; investor perception of an asset and investment manager’s drive, focus and alignment of interest; terms of investment, including the level of fees and expenses charged for services; our actual or perceived financial condition, liquidity and stability; the duration of relationships with investors; brand recognition; and business reputation. We expect to face competition primarily from other asset, service and investment management firms. A number of factors serve to increase our competitive risks including but not limited to:
other asset managers or advisors may have greater financial, technical, marketing and other resources and more personnel than we do;
other asset managers or advisors may offer more products and services than we do or be more adept at developing, marketing and managing new products and services than we are;
Ashford Trust, Braemar, and other companies that we may advise may not perform as well as the clients of other asset managers;
several other asset managers or advisors and their clients have significant amounts of capital and many of them have similar management and investment objectives to ours which may create additional competition for advisory opportunities;
some of these other asset managers’ or advisors’ clients may also have a lower cost of capital and access to funding sources that are not available to us or the companies that we advise, which may create competitive disadvantages for us with respect to funding opportunities;
some of these other asset managers’ or advisors’ clients may have higher risk tolerance, different risk assessment or a lower return threshold, which could allow them to facilitate the acquisition and management by their clients of a wider variety of assets and allow them to consider a broader range of investments and to advise their clients to bid more aggressively for investment opportunities on which we would advise our clients to bid;
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there are relatively few barriers to entry impeding new asset management or advisory companies and the successful efforts of new entrants into the asset management businesses are expected to continue to result in increased competition;
some other asset managers or advisors may have better expertise or be regarded by potential clients as having better expertise with regard to specific assets or investments;
other asset managers or advisors may have more scalable platforms and may operate more efficiently than us;
other asset managers or advisors may have better brand recognition than us and there is no assurance that we will maintain a positive brand in the future;
other industry participants may from time to time seek to recruit members of our management or investment teams and other employees away from us;
an increase in the allocation of capital to our asset strategies by institutional and individual investors could lead to a reduction in the size and duration of pricing inefficiencies that we may seek to exploit;
a decrease in the allocation of capital to our asset strategies could intensify competition for that capital and lead to difficulty in raising new capital; and
the market for qualified professionals is intensely competitive and our ability to continue to compete effectively will also depend upon our ability to attract, retain and motivate our employees.
Our inability to effectively compete in these and other areas may have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
The investments of the entities we currently advise and provide other products and services to are concentrated in the hotel industry. Our business has been significantly and adversely affected by the economic downturn in that sector, including as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we will be significantly influenced by the economies and other conditions in the specific markets in which our asset management clients operate.
Substantially all of the investments of Ashford Trust and Braemar and the investments of other clients we also provide products and services to are concentrated in the hotel industry. This concentration exposes our clients and therefore us, to economic downturn in the hotel real estate sector to a greater extent than if the investments of ours and our clients were diversified across other sectors of the real estate industry or other industries. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, has significantly negatively impacted the hotel real estate sector, our clients (including Ashford Trust and Braemar) and us. See “The COVID-19 pandemic has and will continue to significantly and adversely affect our business.”
Similarly, we are particularly susceptible to adverse market conditions in areas in which our clients have high concentrations of properties. Industry downturns, relocation of businesses, oversupply of hotel rooms, reduction in travel and/or lodging demand or other adverse economic developments in the hotel industry generally or in areas where our clients have a high concentration of properties could adversely affect us. In addition, some of our clients’ properties are located in areas where recently there have been bouts of civil unrest. Adverse conditions in these areas (including business layoffs or downsizing, industry slowdowns, property damage and other factors) may have an adverse effect on our business.
The project management business acquisition may not be accretive to our stockholders.
While it is intended that the acquisition of our project management business will be accretive to our performance metrics (including after taking into account the possible conversion of the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock into our common stock), there can be no assurance that this will be the case, since, among other things, the expenses we have incurred as a result of the acquisition may be higher than we anticipated and revenue from the project management business has decreased significantly as a result of our clients’ significant reductions to capital expenditure budgets in response to COVID-19. Also, as a result of reduced cash flow projections, the uncertainty surrounding such projected cash flows, and the significant decline in our market capitalization, we recorded a goodwill impairment charge of $49.5 million in the first quarter of 2020 related to our Premier segment, which is our project management business. Our project management business will likely be adversely impacted if the properties owned by our clients are foreclosed upon by their respective lenders, as our project management business would likely no longer provide future project management services to such hotels. While the long-term value of the project management business is difficult to predict, the failure of the acquisition to be accretive to the Company’s stockholders could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition, and results of operations.


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We may not manage the integration of the project management business effectively in such a manner that we realize the anticipated benefits of the project management business acquisition.
We may not manage the integration of our project management business effectively. The acquisition has been a time-consuming and costly process, and we may encounter difficulties, including, among other things:
the inability to successfully integrate the project management business into our existing business in a manner that permits us to operate effectively or efficiently, which could result in the anticipated benefits of the acquisition not being realized in the timeframe currently anticipated or at all;
the risk of not realizing all of the anticipated strategic and financial benefits of the acquisition within the expected time frame or at all;
potential unknown liabilities and unforeseen increased expenses, delays, or regulatory conditions associated with the acquisition; and
performance shortfalls as a result of the diversion of management’s attention caused by the completion of the acquisition and integrating the operations of the project management business.
We are exposed to risks to which the Company has not historically been exposed, including business risks inherent to the project management business.
The project management business exposes us to risks to which we have not historically been exposed. Addressing these risks could distract management, disrupt our ongoing business, or result in inconsistencies in our operations, services, standards, controls, procedures, and policies, any of which could adversely affect our ability to maintain relationships with our lenders, joint venture partners, vendors, and employees or to achieve all or any of the anticipated benefits of the acquisition. Beginning in March 2020, our project management business experienced a significant reduction in revenue. In order to cut expenses, we laid off or furloughed a significant portion of our workforce in the project management business. The full financial impact of the reduction in demand for project management caused by the pandemic cannot be reasonably estimated at this time due to uncertainty as to its severity and duration. The Company expects that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to have a significant negative impact on the Company’s project management business in the 2021 fiscal year and beyond.
The hotel management business acquisition may not be accretive to our stockholders.
While it is intended that the acquisition of our hotel management business will be accretive to our performance metrics (including after taking into account the possible conversion of the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock into our common stock), there can be no assurance that this will be the case, since, among other things, the expenses we have incurred as a result of the acquisition may be higher than we anticipated and revenue from the hotel management business has decreased significantly as a result of our clients’ significant decline in hotel occupancy and revenue per available room due to COVID-19. Also, as a result of reduced cash flow projections, the uncertainty surrounding such projected cash flows, and the significant decline in our market capitalization, we recorded a goodwill impairment of $121.0 million in the first quarter of 2020 related to our Remington segment, which is our hotel management business.
Nearly all of the properties of our client, Ashford Trust, are pledged as collateral for a variety of loans. On or about March 17, 2020, Ashford Trust sent notice to all of its lenders notifying such lenders that the spread of COVID-19 was having a significant negative impact on the travel and hospitality industry and that its hotels were experiencing a severe decrease in revenue, resulting in a negative impact on cash flow. Beginning on April 1, 2020, Ashford Trust did not make principal or interest payments under nearly all of its loans, which constituted an “Event of Default” as such term is defined under the applicable loan documents. Pursuant to the terms of the applicable loan documents, such an Event of Default caused an automatic increase in the interest rate on its outstanding loan balance for the period such Event of Default remains outstanding. Following an Event of Default, Ashford Trust’s lenders can generally elect to accelerate all principal and accrued interest payments that remain outstanding under the applicable loan agreement and foreclose on the applicable hotel properties that are security for such loans.
Ashford Trust is in the process of negotiating forbearance agreements with its lenders. As of March 11, 2021, forbearance agreements have been executed on most, but not all of its loans. In the aggregate, Ashford Trust has entered into forbearance and other agreements with varying terms and conditions that conditionally waive or defer payment defaults for loans with a total outstanding principal balance of approximately $3.6 billion out of approximately $3.7 billion in property level debt outstanding as December 31, 2020. We cannot predict the likelihood that Ashford Trust’s remaining forbearance agreement discussions will be successful. If Ashford Trust is unsuccessful in negotiating these forbearance agreements, the lenders could potentially foreclose on Ashford Trust’s hotels.
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While the long-term value of the hotel management business is difficult to predict, the failure of the acquisition to be accretive to the Company’s stockholders could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition, and results of operations.
We may not manage the integration of the hotel management business effectively in such a manner that we realize the anticipated benefits of the hotel management business acquisition.
We may not effectively manage the integration of our hotel management business effectively. Our hotel management business consists of the hotel management business conducted by Remington, including hotel operations, sales and marketing, revenue management, budget oversight, guest service, asset maintenance (not involving capital expenditures) and related services. The integration of the hotel management business could be a time-consuming and costly process. We may encounter potential difficulties, including, among other things:
the inability to successfully integrate the hotel management business into our existing business in a manner that permits us to operate effectively or efficiently, which could result in the anticipated benefits of the acquisition not being realized in the timeframe currently anticipated or at all;
the risk of not realizing all of the anticipated strategic and financial benefits of the acquisition within the expected timeframe or at all;
potential unknown liabilities and unforeseen increased expenses, delays or regulatory conditions associated with the acquisition; and
performance shortfalls as a result of the diversion of management’s attention caused by completing the acquisition and integrating the operations of the hotel management business.
For all these reasons, you should be aware that it is possible that the acquisition could result in the distraction of management, the disruption of the ongoing businesses, or inconsistencies in each business’s operations, services, standards, controls, procedures and policies. Therefore, the failure to integrate the hotel management business effectively could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We are exposed to risks to which the Company has not historically been exposed, including business risks inherent to the hotel management business.
The hotel management business exposes us to risks to which we have not historically been exposed. As a result of the hotel management acquisition, we are subject to the business risks inherent to the hotel management business, including risks related to the hotel and travel industries. Many of these risks are beyond our control, including, among others, risks relating to the impact of epidemics on the hotel and travel industry, adverse effects of international, national, regional and local economic and market conditions and increase in energy costs or labor costs and other expenses affecting travel, which may affect travel patterns and reduce the number of business and commercial travelers and tourists. Beginning in March 2020, our hotel management business experienced a significant reduction in revenue. Due to the impact of numerous governmental travel restrictions and lack of demand, many of the hotels that we manage through the hotel management business were closed for a significant period of time beginning in March 2020. Although almost all of the hotels have reopened as of the date of this filing, occupancy remains far below historic levels. In order to cut expenses, we laid off or furloughed a significant portion of our workforce in the hotel management business. The full financial impact of the reduction in demand for hotel management caused by the pandemic cannot be reasonably estimated at this time due to uncertainty as to its severity and duration. The Company expects that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to have a significant negative impact on the Company’s hotel management business in the 2021 fiscal year and beyond.
We are exposed to risks to which the Company has not historically been exposed, including the business risks inherent to leasing real property.
The acquisition of the hotel management business will expose us to risks to which we have not historically been exposed, including the business risk inherent in leasing real property. As a result of the acquisition of the hotel management business, we own Marietta. Marietta is the lessee of the Hilton Atlanta/Marietta Hotel and Conference Center, which is managed by Remington pursuant to a management agreement between Remington and Marietta. The Company has not previously been the lessee of such a real property asset and leasing such an asset exposes the Company to risks inherent in the leasing of real property that is used in the lodging industry. For example, such business risks include the cost of compliance with various laws such as environmental laws and the ADA, the cost of maintaining property and casualty insurance, and the risk that property taxes may increase. The acquisition of Marietta as part of the acquisition of the hotel management business could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition, results of operations and ability to effectively operate the Company’s business.
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We may be a “controlled company” within the meaning of the rules of NYSE American and, as a result, would qualify for, and could rely on, exemptions from certain corporate governance requirements.
Following the expiration of certain time and voting restrictions in the Investor Rights Agreement, (and prior to the expiration of such restrictions under certain circumstances) the Bennetts could potentially control a majority of the voting power of our equity securities. For a period of five years after the effective date of the Investor Rights Agreement, the Bennetts have agreed not to elect, or to cause the Company to elect, to be exempt from the NYSE American’s corporate governance requirements on account of the Company’s status as a “controlled company.” As a result, we may become a “controlled company” within the meaning of the corporate governance standards of the NYSE American after such time. Currently, under the rules of the NYSE American, a company for which more than 50% of the outstanding voting power is held by an individual, group, or another company is a “controlled company” and may elect to be exempt from certain stock exchange corporate governance requirements, which, generally, include the following:
the requirement that a majority of the board of directors consists of independent directors;
the requirement that the Company’s nominating and corporate governance committee consists entirely of independent directors; and
the requirement that the Company’s compensation committee consists entirely of independent directors.
Accordingly, in the event we become a “controlled company” and elect to be exempt from some or all of these corporate governance requirements, you may not have the same protections afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to all of the NYSE American corporate governance requirements.
We are subject to substantial regulation, numerous contractual obligations and extensive internal policies and failure to comply with these matters could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We and our subsidiaries will be subject to substantial regulation, numerous contractual obligations and extensive internal policies. Given our organizational structure, we are subject to regulation by the SEC, the Internal Revenue Service, and other federal, state and local governmental bodies and agencies. We also will be responsible for managing the regulatory aspects of Ashford Trust and Braemar, including compliance with applicable REIT rules. These regulations are extensive, complex and require substantial management time and attention. If we fail to comply with any of the regulations that apply to our business or the businesses of Ashford Trust, Braemar or other entities that we advise, we could be subjected to extensive investigations as well as substantial penalties, and our business and operations could be materially adversely affected. We also will have numerous contractual obligations that we must adhere to on a continuous basis to operate our business, the default of which could have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition. While we have designed policies to appropriately operate our business and the entities we advise, these internal policies may not be effective in all regards and, further, if we fail to comply with our internal policies, we could be subjected to additional risk and liability.
If certain of our subsidiaries that engage in the hotel management business do not qualify as “eligible independent contractors” under applicable REIT rules, each REIT (including Ashford Trust and Braemar) for which such subsidiaries provide services might fail to qualify as a REIT.
If our subsidiaries that engage in the hotel management business, including Ashford Services and its subsidiaries (including Remington), do not qualify as “eligible independent contractors” under applicable REIT rules, each REIT for which Ashford Services and its subsidiaries provide hotel management services (including Ashford Trust and Braemar) might fail to qualify as a REIT. Each of our hotel management companies that enters into a hotel management contract with a TRS lessee of a REIT must qualify as an “eligible independent contractor” under the applicable REIT rules in order for the rent paid to the REIT by its TRS lessees to be qualifying income for the REIT under the applicable REIT rules. Among other requirements, in order to qualify as an eligible independent contractor with respect to a REIT, a management company must not own more than 35% of the outstanding shares of the REIT (by value) and no person or group of persons can own more than 35% of the outstanding shares of the REIT and the ownership interests of the management company, taking into account only owners of more than 5% of shares of the REIT and, with respect to ownership interests in such management companies that are publicly-traded, only holders of more than 5% of such ownership interests. Complex ownership attribution rules apply for purposes of these 35% thresholds. Additionally, Ashford Services and its subsidiaries, including Remington, must comply with the provisions of the private letter ruling each of Ashford Trust and Braemar obtained from the Internal Revenue Service in connection with our acquisition of Remington to ensure that Ashford Services and its subsidiaries, including Remington, continue to qualify as “eligible independent contractors” under applicable REIT rules.
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We may do more business internationally, which may subject us to numerous political, economic, market, reputational, operational, legal, regulatory and other risks that could adversely impact our business and results of operations.
We have limited experience operating internationally but we may do so in the near future, in our capacity as advisor to an entity with international operations. As a result of any future international operations conducted by us, our business and financial results in the future could be adversely affected due to currency fluctuations, social or judicial instability, acts or threats of terrorism, changes in governmental policies or policies of central banks, expropriation, nationalization and/or confiscation of assets, price controls, fund transfer restrictions, capital controls, exchange rate controls, taxes, inadequate intellectual property protection, unfavorable political and diplomatic developments, changes in legislation or regulations and other additional international developments or restrictive actions. These risks are especially acute in emerging markets. Many non-U.S. jurisdictions in which we may do business have been negatively impacted by recessionary conditions. These jurisdictions may continue to experience increasing levels of stress. In addition, the risk of default on sovereign debt in some non-U.S. jurisdictions could expose us to substantial losses. Any such unfavorable conditions or developments could have an adverse impact on our businesses and results of operations.
We may also experience difficulty entering new international markets due to regulatory barriers, the necessity of adapting to new regulatory systems and problems related to entering new markets with different cultural bases and political systems. These difficulties may prevent, or significantly increase the cost of, our international expansion.
In addition, changes in policies or laws of the U.S. or foreign governments resulting in, among other things, higher taxation, currency conversion limitations, restrictions on fund transfers or the expropriation of private enterprises, could reduce the anticipated benefits of our international expansion. Any actions by countries in which we conduct business to reverse policies that encourage investment could adversely affect our business. If we fail to realize the anticipated growth of our future international operations, our business and operating results could suffer.
Our ability to raise capital and attract investors for our existing and potential advisory clients and our performance is critical to our ability to earn fees and grow our businesses.
The base advisory fees that we earn in our asset management business are based on the total market capitalization of the entities that we advise. Accordingly, our base fees are expected to increase if we are able to successfully raise capital in the debt and equity markets for our existing and potential clients. Conversely, our base fees are expected to decrease if the total market capitalization of our existing clients declines. Further, the incentive fees we earn in our asset management business will be primarily driven by the outperformance of our clients as compared with their respective peers, based on total stockholder return. Recently, the total market capitalization of our clients has declined significantly, which reduces the amount of the base asset management fees paid pursuant to our advisory agreements with our clients and reduces the likelihood that we will earn an incentive fee for this year.
Our ability to earn these fees is subject to a number of risks, many of which are beyond our control, including monetary and fiscal policies, domestic and international economic conditions, political considerations and capital markets. To the extent that general capital markets activity slows down or comes to a halt, our clients may have difficulty growing or refinancing their existing debt obligations. This risk is based on micro- and macro-economic market factors including but not limited to disruptions in the debt and equity capital markets, resulting in the lack of access to capital or prohibitively high costs of obtaining or replacing capital. The markets have experienced a high level of volatility as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the full economic impact is difficult to predict. If we are unable to raise capital and attract investors for our existing and potential advisory clients, this would negatively impact our advisory fees and would have a negative impact on other revenues from our services businesses.
Additionally, we have entered into the SNDA, pursuant to which we have agreed to subordinate to the prior repayment in full of all obligations under Ashford Trust’s senior secured credit facility with Oaktree, among other items: (i) advisory fees (other than reimbursable expenses) in excess of 80% of such fees paid during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, and (ii) any termination fee or liquidated damages amounts under the advisory agreement, or any amount owed under any enhanced return funding program in connection with the termination of the advisory agreement or sale or foreclosure of assets financed thereunder.
We are no longer eligible to file a new Form S-3 registration statement or a post-effective amendment to our Form S-3, which would impair our capital raising activities.
As a result of our recent payment defaults under our Series D Convertible Preferred Stock, we are no longer eligible to file a new Form S-3 registration statement or a post-effective amendment to our current Form S-3. If we are unable to regain Form S-3 eligibility, this could impair our capital raising ability. Under these circumstances, we will be required to use a registration
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statement on Form S-1 to register securities with the SEC, which would hinder our ability to act quickly in raising capital to take advantage of market conditions in our capital raising activities and would increase our cost of raising capital.
We are predominantly dependent on Ashford Trust and Braemar as our only current asset management clients for a substantial portion of our operating revenues, the loss of either of which, or their failure or inability to pay any amounts owed to us, including under their advisory agreements, could adversely affect our business, financial condition, prospects and results of operations. Ashford Trust and Braemar are also customers of our consolidated subsidiaries that provide products and services to the hospitality industry.
Ashford Trust and Braemar are the only clients for which we currently provide asset management and advisory services. Ashford Trust and Braemar are also customers of our consolidated subsidiaries that provide products and services to the hospitality industry. Therefore, our business is subject to the risks of the businesses of Ashford Trust and Braemar. The loss or failure of either client, termination of either advisory agreement, the failure or inability of either client to pay us any amounts owed under their respective advisory agreements or other contracts, and particularly their failure or inability to pay all or a portion of any applicable termination fee, would adversely affect our business, financial condition, prospects and results of operations. Additionally, these clients could sell assets over time or lose hotels to lenders who have foreclosed on loans secured by our clients’ properties, decreasing their total market capitalization, and thereby cause our advisory fees and other revenues to decrease, which would adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
From October 16, 2020 through January 11, 2021, the independent members of our board of directors provided Ashford Trust deferrals of the base advisory fees and any Lismore success fees for the months of October 2020, November 2020, December 2020 and January 2021 that were previously deferred such that all such fees would be due and payable on the earlier of (x) January 18, 2021 and (y) immediately prior to the closing of the senior secured credit facility by and among Ashford Trust and certain of its affiliates and certain affiliates of Oaktree. Additionally, the independent members of our board of directors waived any claim against Ashford Trust and Ashford Trust’s affiliates and each of their officers and directors for breach of the advisory agreement and the Ashford Trust Agreement or any damages that may have arisen in absence of such fee deferral.
In accordance with the terms of such deferrals, Ashford Trust paid the Company $14,411,432 immediately prior to the closing of the senior secured credit facility with lending entities managed by Oaktree.
In fiscal year 2020, Ashford Trust and Braemar announced they have each defaulted on their respective property-level secured debt and are in the process of negotiating forbearance agreements with their respective lenders. As of March 11, 2021, forbearance agreements have been executed on most, but not all, of the loans for Ashford Trust. If Ashford Trust is unable to negotiate additional forbearance agreements, the lenders may foreclose on the hotels which serve as collateral for the property-level loans. Such foreclosures would reduce the market capitalization of Ashford Trust and thus reduce the advisory fees and other revenues from our services business. These decreases would adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition. In the aggregate, Ashford Trust has entered into forbearance agreements and accommodation agreements with varying terms and conditions that conditionally waive or defer payment defaults for loans with a total outstanding principal balance of approximately $3.6 billion out of approximately $3.7 billion in property level debt outstanding as of December 31, 2020. Additionally, substantially all of Ashford Trust’s assets have been pledged as collateral in its senior secured credit facility with lending entities managed by Oaktree. If Ashford Trust defaults on its senior secured credit facility or does not meet its covenants thereunder, Oaktree will be able to foreclose on Ashford Trust’s collateral under the senior secured credit facility, which would have a material adverse effect on Ashford Trust’s business and operations.
Braemar has entered into forbearance agreements and accommodation agreements with varying terms and conditions that conditionally waive or defer payment defaults for substantially all of its property level debt.
We depend on our key personnel with long-standing business relationships. The loss of such key personnel could threaten our ability to operate our business successfully.
Our future success depends, to a significant extent, upon the continued services of our management team and key employees of the businesses we have acquired and may in the future acquire. In particular, the hotel industry and/or investment experience of Messrs. Monty J. Bennett, Robert G. Haiman, Deric S. Eubanks, Jeremy J. Welter, and Mark L. Nunneley and the extent and nature of the relationships they have developed with hotel franchisors, operators, and owners and hotel lending and other financial institutions are critically important to the success of our business. The loss of services of one or more members of our management or investment teams could harm our business and our prospects.
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Our platform may not be as scalable as we anticipate and we could face difficulties growing our business without significant new investment in personnel and infrastructure.
Our platform may not be as scalable as we anticipate and we could face difficulties growing our business without significant new investment in personnel and infrastructure. It is possible that if our business grows substantially, we will need to make significant new investment in personnel and infrastructure to support that growth. We may be unable to make significant investments on a timely basis or at reasonable costs, and our failure in this regard could disrupt our business and operations.
If our portfolio management techniques and strategies are not effective, we may be exposed to material unanticipated losses.
Our portfolio management techniques and strategies may not fully mitigate the risk exposure of our operations in all economic or market environments, or against all types of risk, including risks that we might fail to identify or anticipate. Any failures in our portfolio management techniques and strategies to accurately quantify such risk exposure could limit our ability to manage risks in our operations and could result in losses.
We may grow our business through the acquisition of asset management services contracts, assets or companies, which entails substantial risk.
We may determine to grow our business through the acquisition of asset management services contracts, assets or companies. Such acquisitions entail substantial risk. During our due diligence of such acquisitions, we may not discover all relevant liabilities and we may have limited, if any, recourse against the sellers. We also may not successfully integrate the asset contracts or companies that we acquire into our business and operations, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operation and financial condition. Additionally, to the extent such acquisitions result in us entering new lines of business, we may become subject to new laws and regulations with which we are not familiar, or from which we are currently exempt, potentially leading to increased litigation and regulatory risk. Moreover, we may grow our business through joint ventures, in which case we will be subject to additional risks and uncertainties in that we may be dependent upon, and subject to liability, losses or reputational damage relating to systems, control and personnel that are not under our control.
Certain provisions of Nevada law could inhibit changes in control.
Certain provisions of the Nevada Revised Statutes (the “NRS”) may have the effect of inhibiting a third party from making a proposal to acquire the Company under circumstances that otherwise could provide our stockholders with the opportunity to realize a premium over the then-prevailing market price of our common stock or a “control premium” for their shares or inhibit a transaction that might otherwise be viewed as being in the best interest of our stockholders. These provisions include:
“business combination” provisions that, subject to limitations, prohibit certain business combinations between the Company and an “interested stockholder” (defined generally as any person who beneficially owns 10% or more of the voting power of our shares and, if specified conditions exist, certain of our affiliates) for two years after the date on which the stockholder first becomes an interested stockholder, and thereafter continues to prohibit such combinations unless specified conditions are satisfied;
“control share” provisions that provide that “control shares” of our company (defined as shares which, when aggregated with other shares controlled by the stockholder, entitle the stockholder to exercise one of three increasing ranges of voting power in electing directors (a “controlling interest”), together with shares acquired within 90 days immediately before acquisition of the controlling interest) have no voting rights except to the extent approved by our stockholders by the affirmative vote of at least a majority of our voting power, excluding all interested shares.
“constituency” provisions that allow the directors to consider a wide range of interests, such as those of employees and the community, in their decision making. The constituency provisions apply to takeovers and would allow the directors to respond based on considerations other than the stockholders; and
provisions which generally prohibit the removal of a director by less than two-thirds of the voting power of the corporation.
Our charter contains a provision opting out of the business combination provisions.
Pursuant to Section 78.378(1) of the NRS, the Company has elected not to be governed by the provisions of Nevada state law applicable to the acquisition of a controlling interest in the stock of the Company, as set forth in NRS Sections 78.378 to 78.3793, involving the acquisition of a controlling interest in the stock of the Company by: (i) Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr.; (ii) Mr. Monty J. Bennett; (iii) MJB Investments; (iv) any present or future affiliate of Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr. or Mr. Monty J. Bennett; (v) Ashford Trust; (vi) Braemar; or (vii) any other entity that is advised by the Company or its controlled affiliates through an
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advisory agreement. In addition, the control share provisions only apply to corporations that have 200 or more stockholders of record, at least 100 of whom have had Nevada addresses appearing on the stock ledger of the corporation for at least 90 days before the date on which the applicability of those provisions is determined. As of December 31, 2020, one of our record stockholders had a Nevada address appearing on our stock ledger.
In addition, the NRS provides that, except where the action impedes the rights of stockholders to vote for or remove directors, an act of a director relating to or affecting an acquisition or a potential acquisition of control of a corporation is not subject to a higher duty or greater scrutiny than is applied to any other act of a director. Hence, directors of a Nevada corporation may not be required to act in certain takeover situations under the same standards or be subject to the same standard of judicial review as apply in Delaware and some other corporate jurisdictions.
Stockholders will have limited control over changes in our policies and operations, which increases the uncertainty and risks they face as stockholders.
Our board of directors determines its major policies, including its policies regarding growth and distributions. Under the NRS, the authority to manage the Company’s business and affairs is vested in its board of directors. Our board of directors may amend or revise its corporate policies without a vote of its stockholders. We may change its corporate policies without stockholder notice or consent, which could result in investments or activities that are different than, or in different proportion than, those described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Under the NRS, and under our charter and bylaws, stockholders have a right to vote only on limited matters. Our board of directors’ broad discretion in setting policies and stockholders’ inability to exert control over those policies increases the uncertainty and risks stockholders face.
Our charter designates the Business Court of the Eighth Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada, or if this Court does not have jurisdiction because the action asserts a federal claim, the United States District Court for the District of Nevada, Southern Division, as the sole and exclusive forum for certain types of actions and proceedings that may be initiated by our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers or employees.
While the corporation has the option to consent to the selection of an alternative forum, our charter provides that the Business Court of the Eighth Judicial District of the State of Nevada, or if this Court does not have jurisdiction because the action asserts a federal claim, the United States District Court for the District of Nevada, Southern Division, are the sole and exclusive forums for: (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on the corporation’s behalf; (ii) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of the corporation’s directors, officers, employees or agents in such capacity; or (iii) any action arising pursuant to, or to interpret, apply, enforce or determine the validity of, any provision of Nevada’s business association statutes, the corporation’s articles of incorporation and bylaws or any agreement entered into pursuant to the statute governing voting trusts to which the corporation is a party or of which the corporation is a beneficiary. This choice of forum provision may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with the Company or its directors, officers, employees, or agents, which may discourage such lawsuits against the Company and its directors, officers, employees, and agents. Alternatively, if a court were to find these provisions of our charter inapplicable to, or unenforceable in respect of, one or more of the specified types of actions or proceedings, the corporation may incur additional costs associated with resolving such matters in other jurisdictions, which could adversely affect its business, financial condition and results of operations. Our charter cannot be amended unless its board of directors recommends an amendment and its stockholders approve the amendment.
Our board of directors may create and issue a class or series of capital stock without stockholder approval.
Our charter authorizes our board of directors to issue preferred stock, common stock, and blank check stock, and in the case of preferred stock and blank check common stock, to create one or more classes and to establish the preferences and rights of any class of stock issued. These actions can be taken without soliciting stockholder approval. Our ability to classify and issue additional shares of capital stock could have the effect of delaying or preventing someone from taking control of us, even if a change in control were in our stockholders’ best interests.
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Our board of directors can take many actions without stockholder approval.
Our board of directors has overall authority to oversee our operations and determine our major corporate policies. This authority includes significant flexibility. For example, our board of directors can do the following:
amend or revise at any time and from time to time our investment, financing, borrowing and dividend policies and our policies with respect to all other activities, including growth, debt, capitalization and operations, subject to the limitations and restrictions provided in our advisory agreement and mutual exclusivity agreement;
amend our policies with respect to conflicts of interest provided that such changes are consistent with applicable legal requirements;
issue additional shares without obtaining stockholder approval, which could dilute the ownership of our then-current stockholders;
classify or reclassify any unissued shares of our blank check stock or preferred stock and set the preferences, rights and other terms of such classified or reclassified shares, without obtaining stockholder approval;
employ and compensate affiliates; and
direct our resources toward investments that do not ultimately appreciate over time
Any of these actions could increase our operating expenses, impact our ability to make distributions or reduce the value of our assets without giving you, as a stockholder, the right to vote.
Our organizational documents do not limit our ability to enter into new lines of businesses, and we may expand into new investment strategies, geographic markets and businesses, each of which may result in additional risks and uncertainties in our businesses.
We may, to the extent that market conditions permit, grow our business and expand into new investment strategies, geographic markets and businesses. Our organizational documents do not limit us to the management of assets or operation of service businesses within the hospitality industry. Accordingly, we may pursue growth through acquisitions of asset management and service contracts, assets or companies, acquisitions of critical business partners or other strategic initiatives. To the extent we make strategic investments or acquisitions, undertake other strategic initiatives or enter into a new line of business, we will face numerous risks and uncertainties, including risks associated with: (i) the required investment of capital and other resources; (ii) the possibility that we have insufficient expertise to engage in such activities profitably or without incurring inappropriate amounts of risk; (iii) combining or integrating operational and management systems and controls; and (iv) the broadening of our geographic footprint, including the risks associated with conducting operations in non-U.S. jurisdictions. Entry into certain lines of business may subject us to new laws and regulations with which we are not familiar, or from which we are currently exempt, and may lead to increased litigation and regulatory risk. If a new business generates insufficient revenues or if we are unable to efficiently manage our expanded operations, our results of operations will be adversely affected. Our strategic initiatives may include joint ventures, in which case we will be subject to additional risks and uncertainties in that we may be dependent upon, and subject to liability, losses or reputational damage relating to systems, controls and personnel that are not under our control.
We are subject to financial reporting and other requirements for which our accounting, internal audit and other management systems and resources may not be adequately prepared and we may not be able to accurately report our financial results.
Following our separation from Ashford Trust, we became subject to reporting and other obligations under the Exchange Act, including the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Section 404(a) requires annual management assessments of the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting. Because we are no longer an emerging growth company, our independent registered public accounting firm is required to formally attest to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting pursuant to Section 404. As such, our independent registered public accounting firm may issue a report that is adverse in the event it is not satisfied with the level at which our controls are documented, designed or operating. These reporting and other obligations place significant demands on our management, administrative, operational, internal audit and accounting resources and cause us to incur significant expenses. We may need to upgrade our systems or create new systems; implement additional financial and management controls, reporting systems and procedures; expand our internal audit function; and hire additional accounting, internal audit and finance staff. If we are unable to accomplish these objectives in a timely and effective fashion, our ability to comply with the financial reporting requirements and other rules that apply to reporting companies could be impaired. Any failure to achieve and maintain effective internal controls could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and stock price.
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We are increasingly dependent on information technology, and potential cyber-attacks, security problems or other disruption and expanding social media vehicles present new risks.
The protection of business partners, employees and company data is critically important to us. We rely on information technology networks and systems, including the Internet, to process, transmit and store electronic information, and to manage or support a variety of business processes, including financial transactions and records, personal identifying information, billing and operating data. The collection and use of personally identifiable information is governed by federal and state laws and regulations. Privacy and information security laws continue to evolve and may be inconsistent from one jurisdiction to another. Compliance with all such laws and regulations may increase the Company’s operating costs and adversely impact the Company’s ability to market the Company’s properties and services.
We may purchase some of our information technology from vendors, on whom our systems depend, and rely on commercially available systems, software, tools and monitoring to provide security for processing, transmission and storage of confidential operator and other customer information. We depend upon the secure transmission of this information over public networks. Our networks and storage applications are subject to unauthorized access by hackers or others through cyber-attacks, which are rapidly evolving and becoming increasingly sophisticated, or by other means, or may be breached due to operator error, malfeasance or other system disruptions. Privacy and information security risks have generally increased in recent years because of the proliferation of new technologies, such as ransomware, and the increased sophistication and activities of perpetrators of cyber-attacks. In light of the increased risks, we have dedicated additional resources to strengthening the security of our computer systems. In the future, we may expend additional resources to continue to enhance our information security measures and/or to investigate and remediate any information security vulnerabilities. Despite these steps, there can be no assurance that we will not suffer a significant data security incident in the future, that unauthorized parties will not gain access to sensitive data stored on our systems or that any such incident will be discovered in a timely manner.
In addition, the use of social media could cause us to suffer brand damage or information leakage. Negative posts or comments about us on any social networking website could damage our reputation. In addition, employees or others might disclose non-public sensitive information relating to our business through external media channels. The continuing evolution of social media will present us with new challenges and risks.
Climate change may adversely affect our business.
The properties owned by Ashford Trust and Braemar are susceptible to revenue loss, cost increase or damage caused by severe weather conditions or natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes and floods, as well as the effects of climate change. Insurance may not fully cover all losses and, depending on the severity the event and the impact on such properties, such insurance may not cover a significant portion of the losses, including, but not limited to, the costs associated with evacuation. These losses may lead to an increase of our cost of insurance, a decrease in our anticipated revenues from an affected property and a loss of all or a portion of the capital we have invested in an affected property. In addition, we may not purchase insurance under certain circumstances if the cost of insurance exceeds, in our judgment, the value of the coverage relative to the risk of loss.
To the extent climate change causes changes in weather patterns, we could experience increases in storm intensity, extreme weather, changes in precipitation and temperature and rising sea-levels. These conditions could result in physical damage or a decrease in demand for properties owned by Ashford Trust or Braemar located in the areas affected by these conditions. Climate change also may have indirect effects on such properties by increasing the cost of (or making unavailable) property insurance on acceptable terms, increasing the cost of energy and increasing the cost of snow removal at such properties. Should the impact of climate change be material in nature or occur for lengthy periods of time, our financial condition or results of operations would be adversely affected. In addition, changes in federal, state and local legislation and regulation based on concerns about climate change could result in increased capital expenditures on such properties without a corresponding increase in revenue, resulting in adverse impacts to our net income.
Changes in laws, regulations, or policies may adversely affect our business.
The laws and regulations governing our business or the businesses of our clients, or the regulatory or enforcement environment at the federal level or in any of the states in which we or our clients operate, may change at any time and may have an adverse effect on our business. For example, the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”) may limit the future deductions of interest expense we may incur. We are unable to predict how these or any other future legislative or regulatory proposals or programs will be administered or implemented or in what form, or whether any additional or similar changes to statutes or regulations, including the interpretation or implementation thereof, will occur in the future. Any such action could affect us in substantial and unpredictable ways and could have an adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition. Our inability to remain in compliance with regulatory requirements in a particular jurisdiction could have a material adverse effect on our operations in that market and on our reputation generally. No assurance can be given that applicable laws
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or regulations will not be amended or construed differently or that new laws and regulations will not be adopted, either of which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, or results of operations.
We are subject to risk associated with the employment of hotel personnel, particularly with hotels that employ unionized labor.
On November 6, 2019, we completed our acquisition of Remington Lodging’s hotel management business. As a result, from and after November 6, 2019, we became responsible for, and subject to the risks associated with, hiring and maintaining a hotel labor force. From time to time, hotel operations may be disrupted as a result of strikes, lockouts, public demonstrations or other negative actions and publicity. We also may incur increased legal costs and indirect labor costs as a result of contract disputes involving our managers and their labor force or other events. The resolution of labor disputes or re-negotiated labor contracts could lead to increased labor costs, a significant component of our hotel operating costs, either by increases in wages or benefits or by changes in work rules that raise hotel operating costs. We do not have the ability to affect the outcome of these negotiations. We may also be unable to attract, retain, train, manage and engage quality personnel to adequately staff hotel departments, which could result in a sub-standard level of service to hotel guests and hotel operations.
Certain of the properties we manage are subject to collective bargaining agreements and, as a result, are more highly affected by labor force activities than others. The resolution of labor disputes 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 our ability to reduce the size of hotel workforces during an economic downturn because collective bargaining agreements are negotiated between us and labor unions. Our ability, if any, to have any material impact on the outcome of these negotiations is restricted by and dependent on the individual management agreement covering a specific property and we may have little ability to control the outcome of these negotiations.
We may also become subject to additional collective bargaining agreements in the future. Potential changes in the federal regulatory scheme could make it easier for unions to organize groups of our personnel. If such changes take effect, more of our personnel could be subject to increased organizational efforts, which could potentially lead to disruptions or require more of our management’s time to address unionization issues.
In addition, changes in labor laws may negatively impact us. For example, the implementation of new occupational health and safety regulations, minimum wage laws, and overtime, working conditions status and citizenship requirements and the Department of Labor’s proposed regulations expanding the scope of non-exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act to increase the entitlement to overtime pay could significantly increase the cost of labor in the workforce, which could reduce our profits and adversely affect our business and results of operations.
We are dependent upon the profitability of our subsidiaries and their ability to make cash distributions to us.
We are a holding company and, thus, do not conduct material activities other than activities incidental to holding equity interests of our subsidiaries and being a publicly-traded corporation. We are dependent on the profitability of our legacy advisory business and the acquired hotel management business and project management business, and the ability of our subsidiaries in which these businesses operate to generate cash. As a result, we are substantially dependent on the ability of our subsidiaries to fund cash needs. If our subsidiaries are less profitable than anticipated, our cash flows will be negatively affected, which could have a material adverse effect on our stock price.
Cash distributions made by the operating companies to fund payments of dividends on the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock may subject us to taxes to the extent such distributions are treated as a taxable dividend or distribution.
Because our ownership in Ashford Advisors Inc. (which owns Ashford LLC, Premier and Ashford Services) is held indirectly through Ashford Hospitality Holdings LLC, an entity treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we will not be entitled to a 100% dividends received deduction on dividends paid by Ashford Advisors Inc., and instead will only be entitled to a partial dividends received deduction, with respect to amounts distributed by Ashford Advisors Inc. for our benefit that are treated as a taxable dividend. In general, a distribution by Ashford Advisors Inc. is treated as a taxable dividend to the extent any such distribution is made out of Ashford Advisors Inc.’s current or accumulated earnings and profits (as determined for U.S. federal income tax purposes). To the extent the amount of such distribution exceeds Ashford Advisors Inc.’s current and accumulated earnings and profits, it will be treated first as a non-taxable return of capital to the extent of Ashford Hospitality Holdings LLC’s adjusted tax basis in the shares of Ashford Advisors Inc. and, to the extent the amount of such distribution exceeds such adjusted tax basis, will be treated as capital gain from the sale or exchange of such shares. Consequently, we will be subject to U.S. federal income tax on a portion of amounts distributed by Ashford Advisors Inc. for our benefit that are treated as a taxable dividend and on the full amount of any such distribution treated as a capital gain. Accordingly, in connection with any distributions made by the operating companies to fund payments of dividends on our
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preferred stock, additional distributions will likely be required to fund such taxes and any taxes payable on such additional distributions.
The representation of the Bennetts on our board of directors may increase as a result of our failure to make certain full dividend payments on the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for two consecutive quarters.
For so long as the holders of Series D Convertible Preferred Stock hold at least 20% of the issued and outstanding shares of our common stock (on an as-converted basis), Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr., during his lifetime, and Mr. Monty J. Bennett, during his lifetime, are collectively entitled to nominate two individuals as members of our board of directors one of whom is currently Mr. Monty J. Bennett and the other of whom is currently Mr. W. Michael Murphy. If we fail to make two consecutive full dividend payments to the holders of the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock, then Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr., during his lifetime, and Mr. Monty J. Bennett, during his lifetime, will each be entitled to nominate one additional individual as a member of our board of directors and the size of our board of directors may be increased by up to two directors to accommodate these two additional nominees. In furtherance of the foregoing, each of the holders of Series D Convertible Preferred Stock has agreed that they will vote all of their Series D Convertible Preferred Stock, and consent to any action by the holders of the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock without a meeting as permitted under appropriate state law, as may be directed by Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr., or Mr. Monty J. Bennett, respectively, in connection with their nomination of the individuals to fill such seats on our board of directors. The Bennetts and certain of their affiliates, therefore, would likely have increased control over our operations and management.
On March 16, 2020, the Company announced that the Board had declared and the Company would pay 50% of the dividend which was due with respect to its Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for the first quarter of 2020. The declared $3.9 million dividends were paid on April 15, 2020. On June 24, 2020, the Company declared the remaining 50% or approximately $4.0 million of dividends, including compounding dividends, due with respect to its Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for the first quarter of 2020 which were paid on July 14, 2020. The Company did not declare dividends with respect to its Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for the second quarter of 2020. On September 14, 2020, the Board declared a dividend of $0.411875 per share which was due with respect to its Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for the third quarter of 2020. The declared $7.9 million dividends were paid on October 15, 2020. The Company did not declare dividends with respect to its Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for the fourth quarter of 2020. As of December 31, 2020, the Company had aggregate undeclared preferred stock dividends of approximately $16.3 million which relates to the second and fourth quarters of 2020. All accrued dividends accumulate and compound until paid in cash or converted into common stock of the Company pursuant to the Certificate of Designation for the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock.
If the Company fails to make the full dividend payment on the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock in two consecutive quarters, Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr. and Mr. Monty J. Bennett will each be entitled to nominate one additional individual as a member of our board of directors. Additionally, the dividend rate on the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock will increase to 10% per year, until the unpaid preferred dividends have been paid in full. Although we missed the dividend payment in the fourth quarter ending December 31, 2020, since we paid the dividend in full for the third quarter ending September 30, 2020, we did not fail to make the full dividend payment for two consecutive quarters and therefore such board appointment rights and increase in interest payment will not apply. There is no assurance that the Company will not fail to make the full dividend payment in two consecutive quarters in the future.
We face risks related to an ongoing Securities and Exchange Commission investigation.
In June 2020, each of the Company, Braemar, Ashford Trust, and Lismore, a subsidiary of the Company (collectively with the Company, Braemar, Ashford Trust and Lismore, the “Ashford Companies”), received an administrative subpoena from the SEC. The Company’s administrative subpoena requires the production of documents and other information since January 1, 2018 relating to, among other things, (i) related party transactions among the Ashford Companies (including the Ashford Trust Agreement and the Braemar Agreement pursuant to which each of Ashford Trust and Braemar engaged Lismore to negotiate the refinancing, modification or forbearance of certain mortgage debt) or between any of the Ashford Companies and any officer, director or owner of the Ashford Companies or any entity controlled by any such person, and (ii) the Company’s accounting policies, procedures and internal controls related to such related party transactions.
The Company is responding to the SEC’s request and at this point we are unable to predict what the timing or the outcome of the SEC investigation may be or what, if any, consequences the SEC investigation may have with respect to the Company. However, the SEC investigation could result in considerable legal expenses, divert management’s attention from other business concerns and harm our business. If the SEC were to determine that legal violations occurred, we could be required to pay significant civil and/or criminal penalties or other amounts, and remedies or conditions could be imposed as part of any resolution. We can provide no assurances as to the outcome of the SEC investigation.
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Risks Related to Conflicts of Interest
Certain affiliated stockholders have the ability to control significant corporate activities of the Company and their interests may differ from the interests of our other stockholders.
As of December 31, 2020, the Bennetts directly or indirectly beneficially owned approximately 66.9% of our outstanding common stock (including shares of Series D Convertible Preferred Stock on an as-converted basis), provided that prior to August 8, 2023, the voting power of the holders of Series D Convertible Preferred Stock effectively will be limited to 40% of the combined voting power of all of the outstanding voting securities of the Company entitled to vote on any given matter. As a result, the Bennetts may be able to influence or effectively control the decisions of the Company and, following August 8, 2023, the holders of Series D Convertible Preferred Stock may, depending on the circumstances at the time, have the voting power to elect all of the members of our board of directors and thereby control our management and affairs. In addition, at such time, the holders of our Series D Convertible Preferred Stock may be able to determine the outcome of all matters requiring stockholder approval, including mergers and other material transactions, and may be able to cause or prevent a change in the composition of our board of directors or a change in control of the Company that could deprive other stockholders of an opportunity to receive a premium for their common stock as part of a sale of the Company.
In addition to their direct or indirect beneficial ownership of the shares of our common stock, the Bennetts are party to the Investor Rights Agreement, under which, for so long as the holders of our Series D Convertible Preferred Stock and their affiliates continue to beneficially own no less than 20% of the issued and outstanding shares of our common stock, they will have the ability to cause the election of two members of our board of directors plus an additional two directors in the event of the non-payment of full dividends on the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for two consecutive quarters. In addition, the Company could be obligated, at the Bennetts’ election, to provide management services, of the character of the project management business or hotel management business, to any hotels in which the Bennetts own at least a 5% interest, which is different from the pricing structure of the agreements that we currently have with our two main clients, Ashford Trust and Braemar.
On March 16, 2020, the Company announced that the Board had declared and the Company would pay 50% of the dividend which was due with respect to its Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for the first quarter of 2020. The declared $3.9 million dividends were paid on April 15, 2020. On June 24, 2020, the Company declared the remaining 50% or approximately $4.0 million of dividends, including compounding dividends, due with respect to its Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for the first quarter of 2020 which were paid on July 14, 2020. The Company did not declare dividends with respect to its Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for the second quarter of 2020. On September 14, 2020, the Board declared a dividend of $0.411875 per share which was due with respect to its Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for the third quarter of 2020. The declared $7.9 million dividends were paid on October 15, 2020. The Company did not declare dividends with respect to its Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for the fourth quarter of 2020. As of December 31, 2020, the Company had aggregate undeclared preferred stock dividends of approximately $16.3 million which relates to the second and fourth quarters of 2020. All accrued dividends accumulate and compound until paid in cash or converted into common stock of the Company pursuant to the Certificate of Designation for the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock.
If the Company fails to make the full dividend payment on the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock in two consecutive quarters, Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr. and Mr. Monty J. Bennett will each be entitled to nominate one additional individual as a member of our board of directors. Additionally, the dividend rate on the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock will increase to 10% per year, until the unpaid preferred dividends have been paid in full. Although we missed the dividend payment in the fourth quarter ending December 31, 2020, since we paid the dividend in full for the third quarter ending September 30, 2020, we did not fail to make the full dividend payment for two consecutive quarters and therefore such board appointment rights and increase in interest payment will not apply. There is no assurance that the Company will not fail to make the full dividend payment in two consecutive quarters in the future.
The Bennetts’ interests may not always coincide with your interests or the interests of our other stockholders. The concentrated holdings of our common stock directly or indirectly by the Bennetts, the various provisions of the Investor Rights Agreement, and the resulting representation and potential control of our board of directors by the Bennetts may prevent or discourage unsolicited acquisition proposals or offers for our common stock that you may feel are in your best interest as one of our stockholders. Moreover, this concentration of stock ownership may also adversely affect the trading price of our common stock if investors perceive a disadvantage in owning stock of a company with a controlling stockholder.
Our separation and distribution agreement, our advisory agreements, our amended and restated mutual exclusivity agreements, the tax matters agreement, the hotel services agreement and other agreements entered into in connection with our separation from Ashford Trust, and the agreements entered into with Ashford Trust and Braemar in connection with our acquisitions of Premier and Remington, were not negotiated on an arm’s-length basis, and we may be unable to enforce
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or may pursue less vigorous enforcement of their terms because of conflicts of interest with certain of our executive officers and directors and key employees of Ashford Trust and Braemar and/or pending or future legal proceedings.
Because certain of our officers are also officers of Ashford Trust and Braemar and have ownership interests in Ashford Trust and Braemar, our separation and distribution agreements, our advisory agreements, our amended and restated mutual exclusivity agreements, the tax matters agreement, the hotel services agreement and other agreements entered into in connection with our separation from Ashford Trust, and the agreements entered into with Ashford Trust and Braemar in connection with our acquisitions of Premier and Remington, were not negotiated on an arm’s-length basis, and we did not have the benefit of arm’s-length negotiations of the type normally conducted with an unaffiliated third party. As a result, the terms, including fees and other amounts payable, may not be as favorable to us as an arm’s-length agreement. Furthermore, we may choose not to enforce, or to enforce less vigorously, our rights under these agreements because of our desire to maintain our ongoing relationship with Ashford Trust and Braemar.
Our deferred compensation obligations may dilute your interest in our common stock.
Our deferred compensation plan has only two participants, Mr. Monty J. Bennett, our chairman and chief executive officer, and his father Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr., chairman emeritus of Ashford Trust. Both Mr. Monty J. Bennett and Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr. have elected to invest their deferred compensation accounts in our common stock. As a result, we have an obligation to issue approximately 196,000 shares of our common stock to Mr. Monty J. Bennett in quarterly installments over five years beginning in 2023. We also have an obligation to issue approximately 3,000 shares of our common stock to Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr., in quarterly installments through the end of 2021, the end of Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr.’s deferral period. Mr. Monty J. Bennett and Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr. may postpone all or a portion of the distributions, for a minimum of 5 years, if he notifies the Company 12 months prior to the scheduled distributions.
Our relationships with Ashford Trust, and Braemar could create significant conflicts of interest.
Our chief executive officer and chairman, Mr. Monty J. Bennett, serves as the chairman of the board of Ashford Trust and chairman of the board of Braemar. Mr. Monty J. Bennett’s obligations to Ashford Trust and Braemar reduce the time and effort he spends managing our company, and his duties to us as a director and officer may conflict with his duties to, and pecuniary interest in, Ashford Trust and Braemar.
The holders of the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock have rights that are senior to the rights of the holders of our common stock, which may decrease the likelihood, frequency or amount of dividends (if any) to holders of our common stock.
The Series D Convertible Preferred Stock Certificate of Designation requires that dividends be paid on the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock before any distributions can be paid to holders of our common stock and that, in the event of our bankruptcy, liquidation, dissolution or winding up, whether voluntary or involuntary, the holders of Series D Convertible Preferred Stock must be satisfied before any distributions can be made to the holders of our common stock.
On March 16, 2020, the Company announced that the Board had declared and the Company would pay 50% of the dividend which was due with respect to its Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for the first quarter of 2020. The declared $3.9 million dividends were paid on April 15, 2020. On June 24, 2020, the Company declared the remaining 50% or approximately $4.0 million of dividends, including compounding dividends, due with respect to its Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for the first quarter of 2020 which were paid on July 14, 2020. The Company did not declare dividends with respect to its Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for the second quarter of 2020. On September 14, 2020, the Board declared a dividend of $0.411875 per share which was due with respect to its Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for the third quarter of 2020. The declared $7.9 million dividends were paid on October 15, 2020. The Company did not declare dividends with respect to its Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for the fourth quarter of 2020. As of December 31, 2020, the Company had aggregate undeclared preferred stock dividends of approximately $16.3 million which relates to the second and fourth quarters of 2020. All accrued dividends accumulate and compound until paid in cash or converted into common stock of the Company pursuant to the Certificate of Designation for the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock. In addition, if we declare or pay a dividend on our common stock, the holders of the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock will participate, on an as-converted basis, in such dividend with the holders of our common stock. The Series D Convertible Preferred Stock will vote together with the holders of our common stock as a single class on all matters, with the number of votes attributable to each share of Series D Convertible Preferred Stock determined on an as-converted basis, subject to the voting restrictions set forth in the Investor Rights Agreement. As a result of the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock’s superior rights relative to our common stock, including its right to participate in any dividends or other distributions to the holders of our common stock, the right of holders of our common stock to receive distributions from us may be diluted and is limited by such rights.
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The holders of the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock are expected to benefit from significant cash flows that may create conflicts of interest in our management.
The Bennetts and other sellers of the project and hotel management businesses were issued Series D Convertible Preferred Stock in consideration for the sale of such businesses. Each share of Series D Convertible Preferred Stock has a cumulative dividend rate of 6.59% per year until the first anniversary of the closing of the hotel management business acquisition, 6.99% per year from the first anniversary of such closing until the second anniversary of such closing, and 7.28% per year after the second anniversary of such closing. In addition, if the Company fails to pay dividends on the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for two consecutive quarterly periods, then the dividend rate increases to 10% per year, until paid in full.
On March 16, 2020, the Company announced that the Board had declared and the Company would pay 50% of the dividend which was due with respect to its Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for the first quarter of 2020. The declared $3.9 million dividends were paid on April 15, 2020. On June 24, 2020, the Company declared the remaining 50% or approximately $4.0 million of dividends, including compounding dividends, due with respect to its Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for the first quarter of 2020 which were paid on July 14, 2020. The Company did not declare dividends with respect to its Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for the second quarter of 2020. On September 14, 2020, the Board declared a dividend of $0.411875 per share which was due with respect to its Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for the third quarter of 2020. The declared $7.9 million dividends were paid on October 15, 2020. The Company did not declare dividends with respect to its Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for the fourth quarter of 2020. As of December 31, 2020, the Company had aggregate undeclared preferred stock dividends of approximately $16.3 million which relates to the second and fourth quarters of 2020. All accrued dividends accumulate and compound until paid in cash or converted into common stock of the Company pursuant to the Certificate of Designation for the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock. As a result of this consideration, the holders of the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock have the right to receive significant cash flow that might otherwise have been used for general corporate purposes. The holders of the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock may be incentivized by this consideration to maximize our cash flow, and thus Mr. Monty J. Bennett may have conflicts of interest in making management decisions that might be to the detriment of our long-term strategy and success. The cash flow generated by the hotel management business and project management business may not be equal to or in excess of the dividends payable to the holders of the shares of Series D Convertible Preferred Stock in any period.
Certain of our executive officers, who are also executive officers or board members of Ashford Trust, Braemar, or both, including our chairman of the board and chief executive officer, who is also chairman of the board of Ashford Trust and Braemar, face competing demands relating to their time as well as potential conflicts of interest, and this may adversely affect our operations.
Certain of our executive officers are also executive officers or board members of Ashford Trust, Braemar, or both. Because our executive officers have duties to Ashford Trust or Braemar, as applicable, as well as to our company, we do not have their undivided attention. They face conflicts in allocating their time and resources between our company, Ashford Trust and Braemar, as applicable, and they will continue to face increasing conflicts as we advise additional companies and platforms.
The organization and management of Ashford Trust and Braemar and any companies we may advise in the future may create conflicts of interest.
We are or will be party to advisory and other agreements with Ashford Trust and Braemar. These entities, along with any other businesses we may advise in the future will acquire assets consistent with their respective initial investment guidelines, but in each case, we will have discretion to determine which investment opportunities satisfy each such entity’s initial investment guidelines. If, however, either Ashford Trust or Braemar materially changes its investment guidelines without our express consent, we are required to use our best judgment to allocate investment opportunities to Ashford Trust, Braemar and other entities we advise, taking into account such factors as we deem relevant, in our discretion, subject to any then-existing obligations we may have to such other entities. If a portfolio investment opportunity cannot be equitably divided by asset type and acquired on the basis of such asset types in satisfaction of each such entity’s investment guidelines, we will allocate investment opportunities between Ashford Trust, Braemar and any other businesses we advise in a fair and equitable manner, consistent with such entities’ investment objectives. When determining the entity for which such a portfolio investment opportunity would be the most suitable, our investment professionals have substantial discretion and may consider, among other factors, the following:
investment strategy and guidelines;
portfolio concentrations;
tax consequences;
regulatory restrictions;
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liquidity requirements; and
financing availability.
We may manage additional investment vehicles in the future and, in connection with the creation of such investment vehicles, may revise these allocation procedures. The result of a revision to the allocation procedures may, among other things, be to increase the number of parties who have the right to participate in investment opportunities sourced by us, increasing the risk of conflicts of interest.
The decision of how any potential investment should be allocated among Ashford Trust, Braemar and any other companies we may advise in the future, in many cases, may be a matter of subjective judgment, which will be made by us.
Appropriately dealing with conflicts of interest is complex and difficult and our reputation could be damaged if we fail, or appear to fail, to deal appropriately with one or more potential or actual conflicts of interest. Litigation in connection with conflicts of interest could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, which could materially and adversely affect our business and our ability to attract investors for future vehicles.
Our fiduciary duties as the sole manager of our operating company could create conflicts of interest with our fiduciary duties to our stockholders.
We, as the sole manager of Ashford Hospitality Holdings, LLC, which wholly owns our operating company, have fiduciary duties to the other members of Ashford Hospitality Holdings, LLC, the discharge of which may conflict with the interests of our stockholders. The operating agreement of Ashford LLC provides that, in the event of a conflict in the fiduciary duties owed by us to our stockholders and, in our capacity as manager of our operating company, to the members of Ashford Hospitality Holdings, LLC, we may act in the best interest of our stockholders without violating our fiduciary duties to the members of Ashford Hospitality Holdings, LLC or being liable for any resulting breach of our duties to the members, subject in all cases to the implied contractual covenant of good faith and fair dealing which, pursuant to Nevada law, cannot be waived. In addition, those persons holding Ashford Hospitality Holdings, LLC common units will have the right to vote on certain amendments to the operating agreement (which require approval by a majority in interest of the members, including us) and individually to approve certain amendments that would adversely affect their rights. These voting rights may be exercised in a manner that conflicts with the interests of our stockholders. For example, we are unable to modify the rights of Ashford Hospitality Holdings, LLC members to receive distributions as set forth in the operating agreement in a manner that adversely affects their rights without their consent, even though such modification might be in the best interest of our stockholders. In addition, conflicts may arise when the interests of our stockholders and the members of Ashford Hospitality Holdings, LLC diverge, particularly in circumstances in which there may be an adverse tax consequence to the members.
Our conflict of interest policy may not adequately address all of the conflicts of interest that may arise with respect to our activities.
In order to minimize any actual or perceived conflicts of interest with our directors, officers or employees, we have adopted a conflict of interest policy to address specifically some of the conflicts relating to our activities. Although under this policy the approval of a majority of our disinterested directors is required to approve any transaction, agreement or relationship in which any of our directors, officers, or employees, Ashford Trust or Braemar has an interest, there is no assurance that this policy will be adequate to address all of the conflicts that may arise. In addition, the transactions and agreements entered into in connection with our formation prior to the separation and distribution have not been approved by any independent or disinterested persons.
Risks Related to Debt Financing
We may incur additional debt at the corporate level from time to time, which may materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
On March 19, 2020, the Company amended and restated its senior revolving credit facility pursuant to a Fourth Amendment to the Term Loan Agreement. The Company converted and consolidated the existing $10 million borrowing under the senior revolving credit facility (which had been borrowed on a revolving basis) into a term loan and drew down the remaining $25 million balance, borrowing $35 million under the term loan in the aggregate. Effective June 23, 2020, the Company and Bank of America N.A. executed the Fifth Amendment to the Term Loan Agreement. The Fifth Amendment (a) established a 0.50% LIBOR floor, (b) eliminated the consolidated net worth financial covenant, and (c) waived the violation of the consolidated net worth financial covenant that occurred on March 31, 2020. The Company is also subject to certain financial covenants.
We may incur additional debt at the corporate level from time to time. In addition, certain of our subsidiaries that provide products and services to the lodging industry use debt, some of which has recourse to Ashford Inc. or Ashford LLC. Our
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organizational documents do not limit our capacity to use leverage or limit the amount of debt that we may incur. We may, at any time, decide to use leverage to meet future capital needs. We may guarantee, at the corporate level, debt incurred by our subsidiaries. We may also, from time to time, use derivative instruments primarily to manage interest rate risk. Future indebtedness will increase our operating costs, particularly in periods of rising interest rates, and we cannot assure you that our hedging strategy and the derivatives that we use will adequately offset the risk of interest rate volatility or that our hedging transactions will not result in losses that may reduce the overall return on your investment.
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, 2020, we had a total of approximately $33.7 million of variable interest rate debt 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. The Alternative Reference Rates Committee (“ARRC”), a steering committee comprised of large U.S. financial institutions, has proposed replacing USD-LIBOR with a new index calculated by short-term repurchase agreements—the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”). At this time, no consensus exists as to what rate or rates may become accepted alternatives to 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 LIBOR is determined or the transition from LIBOR to a successor benchmark may result in, among other things, a sudden or prolonged increase or decrease in LIBOR, a delay in the publication of LIBOR, and changes in the rules or methodologies in LIBOR, which may discourage market participants from continuing to administer or to participate in LIBOR’s determination and, in certain situations, could result in LIBOR no longer being determined and published. If a published U.S. dollar LIBOR rate is unavailable after 2021, the interest rates on our mortgage notes, which is indexed to 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 U.S. dollar LIBOR was available in its current form. Further, the same costs and risks that may lead to the unavailability of U.S. dollar LIBOR may make one or more of the alternative methods impossible or impracticable to determine. 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.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
None.
Item 2. Properties
We lease our headquarters located at 14185 Dallas Parkway, Suite 1100, Dallas, Texas 75254.
Our consolidated businesses lease other office and warehouse facilities in addition to one hotel. See Note 8 to our consolidated financial statements.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
In June 2020, each of the Company, Braemar, Ashford Trust, and Lismore, a subsidiary of the Company (collectively with the Company, Braemar, Ashford Trust and Lismore, the “Ashford Companies”), received an administrative subpoena from the SEC. The Company’s administrative subpoena requires the production of documents and other information since January 1, 2018 relating to, among other things, (i) related party transactions among the Ashford Companies (including the Ashford Trust Agreement and the Braemar Agreement pursuant to which each of Ashford Trust and Braemar engaged Lismore to negotiate the refinancing, modification or forbearance of certain mortgage debt) or between any of the Ashford Companies and any officer, director or owner of the Ashford Companies or any entity controlled by any such person, and (ii) the Company’s accounting policies, procedures and internal controls related to such related party transactions. In addition, in October 2020, Mr. Monty J. Bennett, the Chairman of our Board and our Chief Executive Officer, received an administrative subpoena from the SEC requesting testimony and the production of documents and other information substantially similar to the requests in the subpoenas received by the Ashford Companies. The Company and Mr. Monty J. Bennett are responding to the administrative subpoenas.
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A class action lawsuit has been filed against one of the Company’s subsidiaries alleging violations of certain California employment laws. The court has entered an order granting class certification with respect to: (i) a statewide class of non-exempt employees who were allegedly deprived of rest breaks as a result of the subsidiary’s previous written policy requiring employees to stay on premises during rest breaks; and (ii) a derivative class of non-exempt former employees who were not paid for allegedly missed breaks upon separation from employment. Notices to potential class members were sent out on February 2, 2021. Potential class members have until April 4, 2021 to opt out of the class. While we believe it is reasonably possible that we may incur a loss associated with this litigation, because the class size has not yet been determined and there is uncertainty under California law with respect to a significant legal issue, we do not believe that any potential loss to the Company is reasonably estimable at this time. As of December 31, 2020, no amounts have been accrued.
We are also engaged in other various legal proceedings that have arisen but have not been fully adjudicated. To the extent the claims giving rise to these legal proceedings are not covered by insurance, they relate to the following general types of claims: employment matters, tax matters, matters relating to compliance with applicable law (for example, the American with Disabilities Act, the Unruh Civil Rights Act, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration), and other general matters. The likelihood of loss for these legal proceedings is based on definitions within contingency accounting literature. For matters that are not covered by insurance, we realize a loss when we believe the loss is both probable and reasonably estimable. Based on the information available to us relating to these legal proceedings, and/or our experience in similar legal proceedings, we do not believe the ultimate resolution of these proceedings, either individually or in the aggregate, will have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial position, results of operations, or cash flow. However, our assessment may change depending upon the development of these legal proceedings, and final results of these legal proceedings cannot be predicted with certainty. If we do not prevail in one or more of these legal matters, and the associated realized losses exceed our current estimates of the range of potential losses, our consolidated financial position, results of operations, or cash flows could be materially adversely affected in future periods.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Not Applicable
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PART II
Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters, and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Market Price and Dividend Information
Our common stock has been listed and traded on the NYSE American under the symbol “AINC” since November 13, 2014. Prior to that time, there was no public market for our common stock. On March 11, 2021, there were approximately 514 holders of record.
Distributions and Our Distribution Policy
Evaluation of our distribution policy and the decision to make a distribution is made solely at the discretion of our board of directors and is based on factors including, but not limited to, our ability to generate income, availability of existing cash balances, the performance of our business, capital requirements, applicable law, access to cash in the capital markets and other financing sources, general economic conditions and economic conditions that more specifically impact our business or prospects and other factors our board of directors deems relevant.
Future distribution levels are subject to adjustment based upon any one or more of the factors set forth above, the matters discussed under “Item 1A. Risk Factors” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K or any other document we file with the SEC under the Exchange Act and other factors that our board of directors may, from time to time, deem relevant to consider when determining an appropriate distribution. Our board of directors may also determine not to make any distribution.
No dividends on our common stock have been declared or paid as of and for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018.
Equity Compensation Plan Information
The following table sets forth certain information with respect to securities authorized and available for issuance under our equity compensation plans:
Number of Securities to be Issued Upon Exercise of
Outstanding Options, Warrants and Rights
Weighted-Average
Exercise Price
Of Outstanding
Options, Warrants,
And Rights
Number of Securities Remaining Available for Future Issuance
Equity compensation plans approved by security holders
1,632,513
(2)
67.26
(2)
1,139 
(1)
Equity compensation plans not approved by security holders — 
Total 1,632,513 67.26 1,139 
____________________
(1) As of December 31, 2020, 1,139 shares of our common stock, or securities convertible into 1,139 shares of our common stock, remained available for issuance under our 2014 Incentive Plan. As defined by the 2014 Incentive Plan, authorized shares automatically increase on January 1 of each year in an amount equal to 15% of the sum of (i) the fully diluted share count and (ii) the shares of common stock reserved for issuance under the Company’s deferred compensation plan less shares available under the 2014 Incentive Plan as of December 31 of the previous year. Pursuant to the plan, we have 682,139 shares of our common stock, or securities convertible into 682,139 shares of our common stock, available for issuance under our 2014 Incentive Plan, as of January 1, 2021.
(2) As of December 31, 2020, we have an obligation to issue 198,917 shares of our common stock with no strike price under our non-qualified deferred compensation plan (“DCP”) for certain executive officers. The plan allows participants to defer up to 100% of their base salary and bonus and select an investment fund for measurement of the deferred compensation obligation. Distributions under the DCP are made in cash, unless the participant has elected Ashford Inc. common stock as the investment option, in which case any such distributions would be made in Ashford Inc. common stock. See further discussion in the Risk Factors section and note 16 to our consolidated financial statements.

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Performance Graph
The following graph compares the percentage change in the cumulative total stockholder return on our common stock with the cumulative total return of the S&P 500 Stock Index, and the Dow Jones Asset Manager Index for the period from December 31, 2015 through December 31, 2020, assuming an initial investment of $100 in stock on December 31, 2015, with reinvestment of dividends.
The stock price performance shown below on the graph is not necessarily indicative of future price performance.
 COMPARISON CUMULATIVE TOTAL RETURNS
Among Ashford Inc., the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Asset Manager Index
AINC-20201231_G1.JPG
Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer
Common Stock Repurchases—On December 5, 2017, the board of directors of Ashford Inc. approved a stock repurchase program (the “Repurchase Program”) pursuant to which the Board granted a repurchase authorization to acquire shares of the Company’s common stock, par value $0.001 per share having an aggregate value of up to $20 million. No shares were repurchased under the stock repurchase program during the year ended December 31, 2020. The maximum aggregate dollar value that may yet be purchased under the Repurchase Program is $20 million.
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The following table provides the information with respect to purchases of our common stock during each of the months in the quarter ended December 31, 2020:
Period Total Number of Shares Purchased Average Price Paid Per Share
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of a Publicly Announced Plan (1)
Maximum Dollar Value of Shares That May Yet Be Purchased Under the Plan
Common stock:
October 1 to October 31 —  $ —  —  $ — 
November 1 to November 30
—  —  —  — 
December 1 to December 31 (2)
191  —  —  — 
Total 191  $ —  —  $ — 
____________________
(1) On December 5, 2017, the Board approved a stock repurchase program pursuant to which the Board granted a repurchase authorization to acquire shares of the Company’s common stock, having an aggregate value of up to $20 million. No shares were repurchased under the stock repurchase program during the three months ended December 31, 2020, pursuant to this authorization.
(2) There is no cost associated with the forfeiture of 191 restricted shares of our common stock in December 2020.
Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities
On January 2, 2018, we issued 8,962 shares of common stock to the OpenKey redeemable noncontrolling interest holder in connection with the purchase of 519,647 shares of the outstanding Class B common stock in OpenKey, Inc. The common stock was issued pursuant to the exemption from the registration requirements under the Securities Act provided under Section 4(a)(2) thereunder.
On January 1, 2019, we issued 16,529 shares of common stock in connection with the purchase of a 30% noncontrolling ownership interest in REA Holdings (as defined below). The common stock was issued pursuant to the exemption from the registration requirements under the Securities Act provided under Section 4(a)(2) thereunder.
On March 1, 2019, the Company issued 61,387 shares of common stock in connection with the acquisition by JSAV, our consolidated subsidiary, of a privately-held company that conducts the business of BAV Services. The common stock was issued pursuant to the exemption from the registration requirements under the Securities Act provided under Section 4(a)(2) thereunder.
On July 18, 2019, we issued 135,366 shares of common stock as partial consideration in connection with RED Hospitality & Leisure Key West, LLC’s, a subsidiary of the Company (“Red Hospitality”), acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Sebago, a leading provider of watersports activities and excursion services based in Key West, Florida. The common stock was issued pursuant to the exemption from the registration requirements under the Securities Act provided under Section 4(a)(2) thereunder.
On September 9, 2020, the Company entered into a professional relations and consulting agreement with Acorn Management Partners, L.L.C. for its services and expertise in assisting public companies in strategic business outreach and professional relations services. In addition to cash compensation and in accordance with the agreement, on September 23, 2020, the Company paid the consultant compensation of $50,000 which was paid in restricted shares of the Company’s common stock. The number of shares were issued in a private placement pursuant to Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and/or Regulation D promulgated thereunder. The number of restricted shares to be issued was determined by dividing $50,000 by the 20 day volume-weighted average price per share of the Company’s common stock ending on the last trading day prior to September 9, 2020. On September 23, 2020, the Company issued 7,439 shares.
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Item 6. Selected Financial Data
You should read the following selected financial information in conjunction with “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our historical consolidated financial statements and related notes, which are included in “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.”
The following table presents selected financial information (in thousands, except per share amounts):
Year Ended December 31,
2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
Statements of Operations Data:
Total revenues $ 297,428  $ 291,250  $ 195,520  $ 81,573  $ 67,607 
Total expenses $ 521,358  $ 302,480  $ 196,359  $ 92,095  $ 70,064 
Net income (loss) $ (215,788) $ (15,374) $ 7,820  $ (20,194) $ (12,403)
Net income (loss) attributable to the Company $ (212,365) $ (13,855) $ 10,182  $ (18,352) $ (2,396)
Net income (loss) attributable to Common Stockholders $ (247,347) $ (30,218) $ 4,986  $ (18,352) $ (2,396)
Diluted income (loss) per common share $ (108.30) $ (13.55) $ (2.11) $ (9.59) $ (2.56)
Weighted average diluted common shares 2,284  2,568  2,332  2,067  2,209 
Balance Sheet Data:
Cash and cash equivalents $ 45,270  $ 35,349  $ 51,529  $ 36,480  $ 84,091 
Total assets $ 565,439  $ 782,500  $ 379,005  $ 114,810  $ 129,797 
Total liabilities $ 286,256  $ 262,285  $ 108,726  $ 78,742  $ 38,168 
Total equity (deficit) $ (199,598) $ 42,024  $ 65,901  $ 30,957  $ 90,149 
Total liabilities and equity/deficit $ 565,439  $ 782,500  $ 379,005  $ 114,810  $ 129,797 
Other Data:
Cash flows provided by (used in):
Operating activities $ 32,210  $ 24,699  $ 21,519  $ 19,415  $ 84,858 
Investing activities $ (6,030) $ (28,831) $ (28,099) $ (23,158) $ (4,865)
Financing activities $ 2,730  $ (2,067) $ 20,514  $ (44,534) $ (42,106)
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Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
The following Management’s Discussion and Analysis (“MD&A”) is intended to help the reader understand our results of operations and financial condition. This MD&A is provided as a supplement to, and should be read in conjunction with, our audited financial statements and the accompanying notes thereto included in Item 8. In addition to historical financial information, the following discussion and analysis contains forward-looking statements that involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Our results and the timing of selected events may differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of many factors, including those discussed under “Item 1A. Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. See “Forward-Looking Statements.”
Overview
Ashford Inc. is a Nevada corporation that provides products and services primarily to clients in the hospitality industry, including Ashford Trust and Braemar. We became a public company in November 2014, and our common stock is listed on the NYSE American. As of March 11, 2021, Mr. Monty J. Bennett, Ashford Inc.’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and the Chairman of Ashford Trust and Braemar, and his father, Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr., Chairman Emeritus of Ashford Trust, owned approximately 606,908 shares of our common stock, which represented an approximately 21.2% ownership interest in Ashford Inc., and owned 18,758,600 shares of our Series D Convertible Preferred Stock (the “Series D Convertible Preferred Stock”), which is exercisable (at an exercise price of $117.50 per share) into an additional approximate 3,991,191 shares of Ashford Inc. common stock, which if exercised as of March 11, 2021 would have increased Mr. Monty J. Bennett and Mr. Archie Bennett, Jr.’s ownership interest in Ashford Inc. to 67.1%.
We provide: (i) advisory services; (ii) asset management services; (iii) hotel management services; (iv) project management services; (v) event technology and creative communications solutions; (vi) mobile room keys and keyless entry solutions; (vii) watersports activities and other travel, concierge and transportation services; (viii) hypoallergenic premium room products and services; (ix) debt placement and related services; (x) real estate advisory and brokerage services; and (xi) wholesaler, dealer manager and other broker-dealer services. We conduct these activities and own substantially all of our assets primarily through Ashford LLC, Ashford Services and their respective subsidiaries.
We seek to grow through the implementation of two primary strategies: (i) increasing our assets under management; and (ii) pursuing third-party business to grow our other products and services businesses.
We are currently the advisor for Ashford Trust and Braemar. In our capacity as the advisor to Ashford Trust and Braemar, we are responsible for implementing the investment strategies and managing the day-to-day operations of Ashford Trust and Braemar and their respective hotels from an ownership perspective, in each case subject to the respective advisory agreements and the supervision and oversight of the respective boards of directors of Ashford Trust and Braemar. Ashford Trust is focused on investing in full-service hotels in the upscale and upper upscale segments in the U.S. that have RevPAR generally less than twice the national average. Braemar invests primarily in luxury hotels and resorts with RevPAR of at least twice the U.S. national average. Each of Ashford Trust and Braemar is a REIT as defined in the Internal Revenue Code, and the common stock of each of Ashford Trust and Braemar is traded on the NYSE.
As required for disclosure under the Enhanced Return Funding Program Agreement and Amendment No. 1 to the Fifth Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement, for the trailing twelve months ended December 31, 2020, the total incremental expenses incurred (including all reimbursable expenses), as reasonably determined, in connection with providing services to Braemar under the agreement was $10.8 million.
Recent Developments
COVID-19, Management’s Plans and Liquidity
In December 2019, COVID-19 was identified in Wuhan, China, which subsequently spread to other regions of the world, and has resulted in significant travel restrictions and extended shutdown of numerous businesses in every state in the United States. In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic. Our clients Ashford Trust and Braemar have reported that the negative impact on room demand within their respective portfolios stemming from COVID-19 is significant, which has resulted and is expected to result in significantly reduced occupancy and RevPAR. Furthermore, the prolonged presence of the virus has resulted in health and other government authorities imposing widespread restrictions on travel and other businesses. The hotel industry has experienced postponement or cancellation of a significant number of business conferences and similar events. Following the government mandates and health official orders, the Company dramatically reduced staffing and expenses at its products and services businesses and at our corporate office. COVID-19 has had a significant negative impact on the Company’s operations and financial results to date. In addition, one or more possible recurrences of COVID-19 cases could result in further reductions in business and personal travel and could cause
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state and local governments to reinstate travel restrictions. The Company expects that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to have a significant negative impact on the Company’s results of operations, financial position and cash flow in 2021 and potentially beyond. As a result, in March 2020, the Company reduced the cash compensation of its executive officers and other employees, amended payment terms pursuant to certain hotel management agreements to better manage corporate working capital, reduced planned capital expenditures, and significantly reduced operating expenses. On March 16, 2020, the Company announced that the Board had declared and the Company would pay 50% of the dividend which was due with respect to its Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for the first quarter of 2020. The declared $3.9 million dividends were paid on April 15, 2020. On June 24, 2020, the Company declared the remaining 50% or approximately $4.0 million of dividends, including compounding dividends, due with respect to its Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for the first quarter of 2020 which were paid on July 14, 2020. The Company did not declare dividends with respect to its Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for the second quarter of 2020. On September 14, 2020, the Board declared a dividend of $0.411875 per share which was due with respect to its Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for the third quarter of 2020. The declared $7.9 million dividends were paid on October 15, 2020. The Company did not declare dividends with respect to its Series D Convertible Preferred Stock for the fourth quarter of 2020. As of December 31, 2020, the Company had aggregate undeclared preferred stock dividends of approximately $16.3 million which relates to the second and fourth quarters of 2020.
When preparing financial statements, management has the responsibility to evaluate whether there are conditions or events, considered in the aggregate, that create substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern within one year after the date that the financial statements are issued. In applying the accounting guidance, the Company considered its current financial condition and liquidity sources, including current funds available, forecasted future cash flows and its unconditional obligations due over the next 12 months.
We are required to maintain certain financial ratios under various debt and related agreements. If we violate covenants in any debt or related agreement, we could be required to repay all or a portion of our indebtedness before maturity at a time when we might be unable to arrange financing for such repayment on attractive terms, if at all. Violations of certain debt covenants may result in the inability of our portfolio companies to borrow unused amounts under their respective lines of credit. As of December 31, 2020, our $35 million Term Loan Agreement was in compliance with all covenants or other requirements. Debt held by our subsidiaries was either in compliance with all covenants or other requirements or had any covenant violations waived by the lender. Additionally, JSAV executed a credit agreement amendment on December 31, 2020, which extended the maturity date of the loan, waived previous covenant violations for the fiscal quarters ended June 30, 2020 and September 30, 2020, and replaced the previous covenants with a covenant which commences with the quarter ending March 31, 2023.
We cannot predict when hotel operating levels at our clients, Ashford Trust and Braemar, will return to normalized levels after the effects of the pandemic subside, whether our clients’ hotels will be forced to shut down operations or whether one or more governmental entities may impose additional travel restrictions due to a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the future. As a result of these factors resulting from the impact of the pandemic, we are unable to estimate future financial performance with certainty. However, based primarily on our assessment of the ability of our key customers, Ashford Trust and Braemar, to pay their obligations to the Company in accordance with the advisory agreements, the Company has concluded that management’s current plan alleviates the substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern. Additional factors considered in our assessment include our completed loan amendments, other agreements, our current cash on hand, our forecast of future operating results for the next 12 months from the date of this report and the actions we have taken to improve our liquidity. Facts and circumstances could change in the future that are outside of management’s control, such as changes in Ashford Trust’s and Braemar’s financial position and liquidity, additional government mandates, health official orders, travel restrictions and extended business shutdowns due to COVID-19. See note 17 to our consolidated financial statements.
In April of 2020, certain of our portfolio companies applied for and received loans from Key Bank, N.A., Comerica Bank and Centennial Bank under the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) which was established under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”). All funds borrowed under the PPP were returned on or before May 7, 2020.
Other Developments
On March 13, 2020, the Company entered into the Extension Agreement, related to the Ashford Trust ERFP Agreement. Under the terms of the Extension Agreement, the remaining ERFP commitment funding deadline under the Ashford Trust ERFP Agreement of $11.4 million as of December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019, has been extended from January 22, 2021 to December 31, 2022. See note 11 to our consolidated financial statements.
On March 13, 2020, Ashford Trust entered into the Ashford Trust Hotel Management Letter Agreement with the Company. In order to allow the Company to better manage our corporate working capital and to ensure the continued efficient operation of the Ashford Trust hotels managed by Remington, Ashford Trust agreed to pay the base fee and to reimburse all expenses for
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Remington-managed hotels on a weekly basis for the preceding week, rather than on a monthly basis. The Ashford Trust Hotel Management Letter Agreement went into effect on March 13, 2020 and will continue until terminated by Ashford Trust.
On March 13, 2020, Braemar entered into the Braemar Hotel Management Letter Agreement with the Company. In order to allow the Company to better manage its corporate working capital and to ensure the continued efficient operation of the Braemar hotels managed by Remington, Braemar agreed to pay the base fee and to reimburse all expenses for Remington-managed hotels on a weekly basis for the preceding week, rather than on a monthly basis. The Braemar Hotel Management Letter Agreement went into effect on March 13, 2020 and will continue until terminated by Braemar.
On March 16, 2020, the Company announced that in light of the uncertainty created by the effects of the COVID-19, effective March 21, 2020, the base salary for its Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Monty J. Bennett, was temporarily reduced by 20% and the base salary for certain other Company officers, including its Chief Financial Officer and its other named executive officers, was temporarily reduced by 15% until the effects of COVID-19 have subsided and it has been determined that the Company is in a healthy financial position. Any amounts relinquished pursuant to the reduction may be paid by the Company in the future.
On March 16, 2020, the Company announced that in light of the uncertainty created by the effects of COVID-19, the annual cash retainer for each non-employee director serving on the Company’s Board would be temporarily reduced by 25% and would continue in effect until the Board determined in its discretion that the effects of COVID-19 had subsided. The Company also disclosed at that time that any amounts relinquished pursuant to the reduction in fees may be paid in the future, as determined by the Board in its discretion. On August 7, 2020, the Company announced that for fiscal year 2020, the directors will receive the full value of their annual cash retainer (without reduction). However, the full value of such cash retainer will be paid 25% in fully vested common shares and 75% in cash. The remaining quarterly installments of such retainer will be adjusted so that, for fiscal year 2020 in the aggregate, each director will have received 25% of the value of the full annual cash retainer in equity and the remaining 75% in cash. This arrangement does not apply to any additional cash retainers for committee service or service as lead director, which will continue to be paid in cash. The Board currently intends to continue this arrangement through our 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, at which time the Board currently intends to re-examine the program.
On March 19, 2020, the Company amended and restated the senior revolving credit facility pursuant to a Fourth Amendment to the Term Loan Agreement. The Company converted and consolidated the existing $10 million borrowing under the senior revolving credit facility (which had been borrowed on a revolving basis) into a term loan and drew down the remaining $25 million balance of the senior revolving credit facility, borrowing $35 million under the term loan in the aggregate. The Term Loan Agreement has a four year term and a maximum principal amount of $35 million. Principal payments of 1.25% of the outstanding balance are payable on the last business day of each fiscal quarter commencing June 30, 2020. See note 7 to our consolidated financial statements.
On March 20, 2020, Lismore, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company, entered into the Ashford Trust Agreement. Pursuant to the Ashford Trust Agreement, Lismore shall, during the term of the agreement (which commenced on March 20, 2020 and shall end on the date that is twelve months following the commencement date, or upon it being terminated by Ashford Trust on not less than thirty days written notice) negotiate the refinancing, modification or forbearance of the existing mortgage debt on Ashford Trust’s hotels. For the purposes of the Ashford Trust Agreement, financing shall include, without limitation, senior or subordinate loan financing, provided in any single transaction or a combination of transactions, including, mortgage loan financing, mezzanine loan financing, or subordinate loan financing encumbering the applicable hotel or unsecured loan financing.
On July 1, 2020, Lismore and Ashford Trust amended and restated the Ashford Trust Agreement with an effective date of April 6, 2020. Pursuant to the amended and restated agreement, the term of the agreement was extended to 24 months following the commencement date. In connection with the services to be provided by Lismore under the amended and restated agreement, Lismore received a fee of $2.6 million in three equal installments of $857,000 per month beginning July 20, 2020, and ending on September 20, 2020. Lismore is also entitled to receive a fee that is calculated and payable as follows: (i) a fee equal to 25 basis points (0.25%) of the amount of a loan, payable upon the acceptance by the applicable lender of any forbearance or extension of such loan, or in the case where a third-party agent or contractor engaged by Ashford Trust has secured an extension of the maturity date equal to or greater than 12 months of any such loan, then the amount payable to Lismore shall be reduced to 10 basis points (0.10%); (ii) a fee equal to 75 basis points (0.75%) of the amount of any principal reduction of a loan upon the acceptance by any lender of any principal reduction of such loan; and (iii) a fee equal to 150 basis points (1.50%) of the implied conversion value (but in any case, no less than 50% of the face value of such loan or loans) of a loan upon the acceptance by any lender of any debt to equity conversion of such loan.
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At the time of amendment, Lismore had been paid approximately $8.3 million, in the aggregate, pursuant to the original agreement. Under the amended and restated agreement, Ashford Trust is still entitled, in the event that Ashford Trust does not complete, for any reason, extensions or forbearances during the term of the agreement equal to or greater than approximately $4.1 billion, to offset, against any fees Ashford Trust or its affiliates owe pursuant to the advisory agreement, a portion of the fee previously paid by Ashford Trust to Lismore equal to the product of (x) approximately $4.1 billion minus the amount of extensions or forbearances completed during the term of the agreement multiplied by (y) 0.125%. For the year ended December 31, 2020, the Company recognized revenue of $5.7 million. As of December 31, 2020, the Company recorded $7.3 million as deferred income of which $680,000 is subject to claw back. The deferred income related to the various Lismore fees described above will be recognized over the 24 month term of the agreement on a straight line basis as the service is rendered, only to the extent it is probable that a significant reversal of revenue will not occur. Constraints relating to variable consideration are resolved generally upon the closing of a transaction or financing event and the resulting change in the transaction price will be adjusted on a cumulative catch-up basis in the period a transaction or financing event closes. See note 17 to our consolidated financial statements.
On March 20, 2020, Lismore entered into the Braemar Agreement. Pursuant to the Braemar Agreement, Lismore shall, during the term of the agreement (which commenced on March 20, 2020 and shall end on the date that is twelve months following the commencement date, or upon it being terminated by Braemar on not less than thirty days written notice) negotiate the refinancing, modification or forbearance of the existing mortgage and mezzanine debt on Braemar’s hotels. For the purposes of the Braemar Agreement, financing shall include, without limitation, senior or subordinate loan financing, provided in any single transaction or a combination of transactions, including, mortgage loan financing, mezzanine loan financing, or subordinate loan financing encumbering the applicable hotel or unsecured loan financing.
In connection with the services provided by Lismore, Lismore shall be paid an advisory fee of up to 50 basis points (0.50%) of the aggregate amount of the modifications, forbearances or refinancings, of the Braemar Financings calculated and payable as follows: (i) 0.125% of the aggregate amount of potential Braemar Financings upon execution of the Braemar Agreement; (ii) 0.125% payable in six equal installments beginning April 20, 2020 and ending on September 20, 2020; provided, however, in the event Braemar does not complete, for any reason, Braemar Financings during the term of the Braemar Agreement equal to or greater than $1.1 billion, then Braemar shall offset, against any fees owed by Braemar or its affiliates pursuant to the advisory agreement, a portion of the fee paid by Braemar to Lismore pursuant to this section equal to the product of (x) the amount of Braemar Financings completed during the term of the Braemar Agreement minus $1.1 billion multiplied by (y) 0.125%; and (iii) 25 basis points (0.25%) payable upon the acceptance by the applicable lender of any Braemar Financing. For the year ended December 31, 2020, the Company recognized revenue of $2.6 million. As of December 31, 2020, the Company recorded $1.6 million as deferred income of which $682,000 is subject to claw back. The deferred income related to the various Lismore fees described above will be recognized over the 12 month term of the agreement on a straight line basis as the service is rendered, only to the extent it is probable that a significant reversal of revenue will not occur. Constraints relating to variable consideration are resolved generally upon the closing of a transaction or financing event and the resulting change in the transaction price will be adjusted on a cumulative catch-up basis in the period a transaction or financing event closes. See note 17 to our consolidated financial statements.
Effective May 13, 2020, Douglas A. Kessler, Senior Managing Director of the Company, voluntarily resigned from his employment and all other positions he held with the Company and its subsidiaries, affiliated entities, and entities that it advises (including his role as President and Chief Executive Officer at Ashford Trust) in order to pursue other professional opportunities. Effective May 14, 2020, Ashford Trust appointed J. Robison Hays, III to fill the role of President and Chief Executive Officer. In connection with this appointment, Mr. Hays will no longer serve as Ashford Trust’s Chief Strategy Officer. Additionally, Mr. Hays will cease to serve as the Company’s Co-President and Chief Strategy Officer and will serve instead as Senior Managing Director of the Company. Accordingly, Jeremy J. Welter’s title at the Company has changed from Co-President and Chief Operating Officer to President and Chief Operating Officer.
On May 15, 2020, the Company and its Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Monty J. Bennett, entered into a letter agreement pursuant to which, effective as of May 15, 2020 and continuing through and including the Company’s last payroll period in 2020, Mr. Monty J. Bennett will accept payment of his base salary (as previously reduced by mutual agreement of the Company and Mr. Monty J. Bennett) in the form of common stock of the Company, issued pursuant to the Company’s 2014 Incentive Plan, as amended. Each issuance of the Company’s common stock will occur on, or as soon as reasonably practicable following, each regular payroll date. The number of shares issued with respect to each payroll date will be equal to the cash salary which would have been paid, less any taxes withheld and benefits deductions, divided by the volume weighted average price per share of the Company’s common stock over all trading days in the period commencing on the first trading date in the applicable payroll period and ending on the last trading date immediately prior to the last day of the payroll period. The Board and Mr. Bennett agreed to effectuate this change to preserve Company liquidity as the Company navigates the effects of COVID-19.
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On June 16, 2020, J. Robison Hays, III resigned from the Company’s Board. As previously disclosed in our Current Report on Form 8-K filed on April 30, 2020, Mr. Hays also ceased to serve as the Company’s Co-President and Chief Strategy Officer and was instead appointed to serve as Senior Managing Director of the Company. Mr. Hays will continue to serve as the Company’s Senior Managing Director following his Board resignation. These changes were made in order to allow Mr. Hays to focus his attention on his new position as President and Chief Executive Officer of Ashford Trust and to ensure that his interests are better aligned with those of Ashford Trust’s stockholders. The board resignation was effective June 16, 2020. There are no disagreements between Mr. Hays and the Company in connection with his resignation.
On August 26, 2020, the Company received notification (the “Notice”) from the NYSE American that it was not in compliance with the continued listing standards set forth in Sections 1003(a)(i) and (ii) of the NYSE American Company Guide (the “Company Guide”). Specifically, the Notice indicated that the Company was not in compliance with Sections 1003(a)(i) and 1003(a)(ii) of the Company Guide, requiring a listed company to have stockholders’ equity of (i) at least $2.0 million if it has reported losses from continuing operations or net losses in two of its three most recent fiscal years and (ii) at least $4.0 million if it has reported losses from continuing operations or net losses in three of its four most recent fiscal years. The Company reported a stockholders’ deficit of $159.2 million as of June 30, 2020, and had losses from continuing operations and/or net losses in each of its five most recent fiscal years, except for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018. The Company submitted a plan to the NYSE American on September 24, 2020 addressing how it intends to regain compliance with Sections 1003(a)(i) and (ii) of the Company Guide by February 26, 2022, or sooner if the NYSE American determines that the nature and circumstances of the Company’s continued listing status warrant a shorter period of time.
The Company received notification from the NYSE American on October 29, 2020, that it had accepted the Company’s plan and granted a plan period through February 26, 2022. During the plan period, the Company will be subject to periodic review to determine if it is making progress consistent with the plan. If the Company does not regain compliance with the NYSE American listing standards by February 26, 2022, or if the Company does not make sufficient progress consistent with its plan, then the NYSE American may initiate delisting proceedings.
On October 16, 2020, the independent members of the Board provided Ashford Trust a 30-day deferral on the payment of: (i) approximately $3.0 million in base advisory fees due to the Company with respect to the month of October 2020; (ii) approximately $1.0 million in reimbursable expenses due to the Company with respect to the month of October 2020, payable under the amended and restated advisory agreement, as amended, with Ashford Trust and Ashford Trust OP; and (iii) $3.0 million of success fees earned by Lismore in the third quarter of 2020. The Board also accelerated approximately $506,000 in claw back credit due to Ashford Trust which, absent a waiver, would occur after the expiration of the Ashford Trust Agreement. In addition, the independent members of the Board provided to Ashford Trust a limited waiver of any claim against Ashford Trust and Ashford Trust’s affiliates, and each of their officers and directors, for breach of the advisory agreement and Ashford Trust Agreement or any damages that may have arisen in absence of the success fee deferrals.
On November 5, 2020, the independent members of the Board provided Ashford Trust: (i) a deferral on the payment of base advisory fees with respect to October 2020 in the amount of approximately $3.0 million that were previously deferred on October 16, 2020; (ii) a deferral on the payment of approximately $3.0 million of success fees earned by Lismore that were previously deferred on October 16, 2020; (iii) a deferral on the payment of approximately $3.0 million in base advisory fees due to the Company with respect to the month of November 2020; (iv) a deferral on the payment of any Lismore success fees that may be earned during November 2020, such that each such deferred payment shall be due and payable on December 1, 2020; and (v) a limited waiver of any claim against Ashford Trust and Ashford Trust’s affiliates, and each of their officers and directors, for breach of the advisory agreement and Ashford Trust Agreement or any damages that may have arisen in absence of the fee deferrals. In addition, the independent members of the Board waived the obligation of Ashford Trust to replace the FF&E owned by the Company at Ashford Trust’s Embassy Suites New York Manhattan Times Square hotel that was lost when Ashford Trust consummated a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure transaction with the mezzanine lender.
On November 26, 2020, the independent members of the Board provided Ashford Trust: (i) a deferral of the payment of the base advisory fees that were previously deferred for the months of October 2020 and November 2020; (ii) a deferral of approximately $3.0 million in base advisory fees with respect to the month of December 2020; (iii) a deferral of the payment of Lismore success fees that were previously deferred for the months of October 2020 and November 2020; (iv) a deferral of any Lismore success fees for the month of December 2020. The foregoing payments will now be due and payable on January 4, 2021. Additionally, the independent members of the board of directors of Ashford Inc. waived any claim against Ashford Trust and Ashford Trust’s affiliates and each of their officers and directors for breach of the advisory agreement and Ashford Trust Agreement or any damages that may have arisen in absence of such fee deferrals.

On December 28, 2020, the Company paid the remaining 25% of the 2019 annual bonuses awarded to certain executive officers of the Company, including the Company’s named executive officers, which had been delayed beyond their standard payment date in March 2020 in light of the uncertainty regarding COVID-19, to be paid no later than December 31, 2020. Such
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bonuses were paid primarily in the form of fully vested shares of common stock issued under the Company’s 2014 Incentive Plan in lieu of cash. Mr. Monty J. Bennett, the Company’s Chief Executive Officer, received the entire remainder of his 2019 annual bonus in the form of common stock.
On December 31, 2020, we acquired all of the redeemable noncontrolling interests shares in JSAV for $150,000. As a result of the acquisition, our ownership in JSAV increased from approximately 88% to 100%. See note 7 to our consolidated financial statements.
On January 4, 2021, the independent members of the Board provided Ashford Trust: (i) a deferral of the payment of the base advisory fees that were previously deferred for the months of October 2020, November 2020 and December 2020; (ii) a deferral of approximately $2.8 million in base advisory fees with respect to the month of January 2021; (iii) a deferral of the payment of Lismore success fees that were previously deferred for the months of October 2020, November 2020 and December 2020; (iv) a deferral of any Lismore success fees for the month of January 2021. The foregoing payments will now be due and payable on January 11, 2021. Additionally, the independent members of the board of directors of Ashford Inc. waived any claim against Ashford Trust and Ashford Trust’s affiliates and each of their officers and directors for breach of the advisory agreement and Ashford Trust Agreement or any damages that may have arisen in absence of such fee deferrals.
On January 11, 2021, the independent members of the Board provided Ashford Trust an additional deferral of the base advisory fees and any Lismore success fees for the months of October 2020, November 2020, December 2020 and January 2021 that were previously deferred such that all such fees would be due and payable on the earlier of (x) January 18, 2021 and (y) immediately prior to the closing of Credit Agreement between Ashford Trust and Oaktree. On January 11, 2021, the Board provided Ashford Trust with the foregoing request. Additionally, the Board waived any claim against Ashford Trust and Ashford Trust’s affiliates and each of their officers and directors for breach of the advisory agreement and Ashford Trust Agreement or any damages that may have arisen in absence of such fee deferral. In accordance with the terms of the previously disclosed deferrals, Ashford Trust paid the Company $14.4 million on January 15, 2021.
On January 14, 2021, the Company entered into the Second Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement with Ashford Trust. The Second Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement amends and restates the terms of the Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement, dated June 10, 2015, as amended by the Enhanced Return Funding Program Agreement and Amendment No. 1 to the Amended and Restated Advisory Agreement, dated as of June 26, 2018. In connection with the transactions contemplated by the Credit Agreement, dated as of January 15, 2021 (the “Credit Agreement”), by and among Ashford Trust, Oaktree and the lenders party thereto, on January 15, 2021, the Company entered into the SNDA with Ashford Trust and Oaktree pursuant to which the Company agreed to subordinate to the prior repayment in full of all obligations under the Credit Agreement, (1) prior to the later of (i) the second anniversary of the Credit Agreement and (ii) the date accrued interest “in kind” is paid in full, advisory fees (other than reimbursable expenses) in excess of 80% of such fees paid during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, (2) any termination fee or liquidated damages amounts under the advisory agreement, or any amount owed under any enhanced return funding program in connection with the termination of the advisory agreement or sale or foreclosure of assets financed thereunder, and (3) any payments to Lismore in connection with the transactions contemplated by the Credit Agreement. See further discussion in note 17 to our consolidated financial statements.
On February 1, 2021, the base salaries for the Company’s executive officers (other than Mr. Bennett) and other employees were restored to their pre-reduction levels, and on February 3, 2021, the independent members of the Board of Directors of the Company restored Mr. Bennett’s salary to its pre-reduction level, effective as of February 1, 2021. In addition, and also effective as of February 1, 2021, the independent members of the Board of Directors ended the arrangement pursuant to which Mr. Bennett has been receiving his base salary in the form of common stock issued under the Company’s 2014 Incentive Plan, as amended, such that Mr. Bennett’s base salary will again be paid in cash.
Shareholder Rights Plan
On March 13, 2020, we adopted a shareholder rights plan by entering into a Rights Agreement, dated March 13, 2020, with ComputerShare Trust Company, N.A., as rights agent (the “Rights Agreement”). We intend for the shareholder rights plan to improve the bargaining position of the Board in the event of an unsolicited offer to acquire our outstanding shares of common stock. The Board implemented the rights plan by declaring a dividend of one preferred share purchase right (a “Right”) that was paid on March 23, 2020, for each outstanding share of our common stock on March 23, 2020 (the “Record Date”), to our stockholders of record on that date. Each of those Rights becomes exercisable on the Distribution Date (defined below) and entitles the registered holder to purchase from the Company one one-thousandth of a share of our Series E Preferred Stock, par value $0.001 per share, at a price of $275 per one one-thousandth of a share of our Series E Preferred Stock represented by such a right, subject to adjustment. The Rights Agreement expired on February 13, 2021.
Initially, the Rights will be attached to all certificates representing our common stock, and no separate certificates evidencing the Rights (the “Rights Certificates”) will be issued. The Rights Agreement provides that, until the date on which
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the Rights separate and begin trading separately from our common stock (which we refer to as the “Distribution Date”) or earlier expiration or redemption of the Rights, (i) the Rights will be transferred with and only with the shares of our common stock, (ii) new certificates representing shares of our common stock issued after the Record Date or upon transfer or new issuance of shares of our common stock will contain a notation incorporating the Rights Agreement by reference, and (iii) the surrender for transfer of any certificates for shares of our common stock outstanding as of the Record Date, even without such notation or a copy of the Summary of Rights (as defined in the Rights Agreement) being attached thereto, will also constitute the transfer of the Rights associated with the shares of our common stock represented by such certificate. The Distribution Date will occur, and the Rights would separate and begin trading separately from the shares of our common stock, and Rights Certificates will be caused to evidence the Rights on the earlier to occur of:
i.10 business days following a public announcement, or the public disclosure of facts indicating, that a person or group of affiliated or associated persons has acquired Beneficial Ownership (as defined in the Rights Agreement) of 10% or more of the outstanding shares of common stock (referred to, subject to certain exceptions, as “Acquiring Persons”) (or, in the event an exchange of the Rights for shares of our common stock is effected in accordance with certain provisions of the Rights Agreement and the Board determines that a later date is advisable, then such later date that is not more than 20 days after such public announcement); or
ii.10 business days (or such later date as may be determined by action of the Board prior to such time as any person becomes an Acquiring Person) following the commencement of, or announcement of an intention to make, a tender offer or exchange offer, the consummation of which would result in the Beneficial Ownership by a person or group of 10% or more of the outstanding shares of our common stock.
The Rights also become exercisable if a person or group that already beneficially owns 10% or more of our common stock acquires any additional shares of our common stock without the approval of the Board, except that the Distribution Date will not occur as a result of our company, one of our subsidiaries, one of our employee benefit plans or a trustee for one of those plans, or Mr. Monty J. Bennett and certain of his affiliates and associates acquiring additional shares of our common stock, and those persons will not be Acquiring Persons.
If a person or group becomes an Acquiring Person at any time after the date of the Rights Agreement, with certain limited exceptions, the Rights will become exercisable for shares of our common stock (or, in certain circumstances, shares of our Series E Preferred Stock or other of our securities that are similar) having a value equal to two times the exercise price of the right. From and after the announcement that any person has become an Acquiring Person, if the Rights evidenced by a Rights Certificate are or were at any time on or after the earlier of (i) the date of such announcement or (ii) the Distribution Date acquired or beneficially owned by an Acquiring Person or an associate or affiliate of an Acquiring Person, such Rights shall become void, and any holder of such Rights shall thereafter have no right to exercise such Rights. In addition, if, at any time after a person becomes an Acquiring Person, (i) we consolidate with, or merge with and into, any other person; (ii) any person consolidates with us, or merges with and into us and we are the continuing or surviving corporation of such merger and, in connection with such merger, all or part of the shares of our common stock are or will be changed into or exchanged for stock or other securities of any other person (or of ours) or cash or any other property; or (iii) 50% or more of our consolidated assets or Earning Power (as defined in the Rights Agreement) are sold, then proper provision will be made so that each holder of a right will thereafter have the right to receive, upon the exercise of a right at the then current exercise price of the right, that number of shares of common stock of the acquiring company which at the time of such transaction will have a market value of two times the exercise price of the Right. Upon the occurrence of an event of the type described in this paragraph, if the Board so elects, we will deliver upon payment of the exercise price of a right an amount of cash or securities equivalent in value to the shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of a right. If we fail to meet that obligation within 30 days following of the announcement that a person has become an Acquiring Person, we must deliver, upon exercise of a right but without requiring payment of the exercise price then in effect, shares of our common stock (to the extent available) and cash equal in value to the difference between the value of the shares of our common stock otherwise issuable upon the exercise of a right and the exercise price then in effect. The Board may extend the 30-day period described above for up to an additional 60 days to permit the taking of action that may be necessary to authorize sufficient additional shares of our Common Stock to permit the issuance of such shares of our Common Stock upon the exercise in full of the Rights.
Discussion of Presentation
The discussion below relates to the financial condition and results of operations of Ashford Inc. and entities which it controls. The historical financial information is not necessarily indicative of our future results of operations, financial position and cash flows.
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RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
This section of this Form 10-K generally discusses 2020 and 2019 items and year-to-year comparisons between 2020 and 2019. Discussions of 2019 items and year-to-year comparisons between 2019 and 2018 that are not included in this Form 10-K can be found in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in Part II, Item 7 of the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019.
Year Ended December 31, 2020 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2019
The following table summarizes the changes in key line items from our consolidated statements of operations for the year ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 (in thousands):
Year Ended December 31, Favorable (Unfavorable)
2020 2019 $ Change % Change
REVENUE
Advisory services $ 45,247  $ 44,184  $ 1,063  2.4  %
Hotel management fees 17,126  4,526  12,600  278.4  %
Project management fees 8,936  25,584  (16,648) (65.1) %
Audio visual 37,881  110,609  (72,728) (65.8) %
Other 25,602  21,179  4,423  20.9  %
Cost reimbursement revenue 162,636  85,168  77,468  91.0  %
Total revenues 297,428  291,250  6,178  2.1  %
EXPENSES    
Salaries and benefits 57,171  59,659  2,488  4.2  %
Cost of revenues for project management 3,521  5,853  2,332  39.8  %
Cost of revenues for audio visual 30,256  82,237  51,981  63.2  %
Depreciation and amortization 39,957  24,542  (15,415) (62.8) %
General and administrative 20,351  33,484  13,133  39.2  %
Impairment 188,837  —  (188,837)
Other 18,687  12,062  (6,625) (54.9) %
Reimbursed expenses 162,578  84,643  (77,935) (92.1) %
Total expenses 521,358  302,480  (218,878) (72.4) %
OPERATING INCOME (LOSS) (223,930) (11,230) (212,700) (1,894.0) %
Equity in earnings (loss) of unconsolidated entities 212  (286) 498  174.1  %
Interest expense (5,389) (2,059) (3,330) (161.7) %
Amortization of loan costs (318) (308) (10) (3.2) %
Interest income 32  46  (14) (30.4) %
Realized gain (loss) on investments (386) —  (386)
Other income (expense) (264) (267) (8,900.0) %
INCOME (LOSS) BEFORE INCOME TAXES (230,043) (13,834) (216,209) (1,562.9) %
Income tax (expense) benefit 14,255  (1,540) 15,795  1,025.6  %
NET INCOME (LOSS) (215,788) (15,374) (200,414) (1,303.6) %
(Income) loss from consolidated entities attributable to noncontrolling interests 1,178  536  642  119.8  %
Net (income) loss attributable to redeemable noncontrolling interests 2,245  983  1,262  128.4  %
NET INCOME (LOSS) ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE COMPANY (212,365) (13,855) (198,510) (1,432.8) %
Preferred dividends, declared and undeclared (32,095) (14,435) (17,660) (122.3) %
Amortization of preferred stock discount (2,887) (1,928) (959) (49.7) %
NET INCOME (LOSS) ATTRIBUTABLE TO COMMON STOCKHOLDERS $ (247,347) $ (30,218) $ (217,129) (718.5) %
Net Income (Loss) Attributable to Common Stockholders. Net loss attributable to common stockholders increased $217.1 million to a $247.3 million loss for the year ended December 31, 2020 (“2020”) compared to the year ended December 31, 2019 (“2019”) as a result of the factors discussed below.
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Total Revenues. Total revenues increased by $6.2 million, or 2.1%, to $297.4 million for 2020 compared to 2019 due to the following (in thousands):
Year Ended December 31, Favorable (Unfavorable)
2020 2019 $ Change % Change
Advisory services revenue:
Base advisory fee (1) (9)
$ 44,725  $ 42,985  $ 1,740  4.0  %
Incentive advisory fee (2)
—  678  (678) (100.0) %
Other advisory revenue (3)
522  521  0.2  %
Total advisory services revenue 45,247  44,184  1,063  2.4  %
Hotel management:
Base management fees 17,126  4,054  13,072  322.4  %
Incentive management fees —  472  (472) (100.0) %
Total hotel management revenue (4)
17,126  4,526  12,600  278.4  %
Project management revenue (5)
8,936  25,584  (16,648) (65.1) %
Audio visual revenue (6)
37,881  110,609  (72,728) (65.8) %
Other revenue:
Debt placement and related fees (7)
8,412  1,998  6,414  321.0  %
Claims management services (8)
226  210  16  7.6  %
Lease revenue (9)
—  4,118  (4,118) (100.0) %
Other services (10)
16,964  14,853  2,111  14.2  %
Total other revenue 25,602  21,179  4,423  20.9  %
Cost reimbursement revenue (11)
162,636  85,168  77,468  91.0  %
Total revenues $ 297,428  $ 291,250  $ 6,178  2.1  %
REVENUES BY SEGMENT (12)
REIT advisory $ 70,169  $ 84,701  $ (14,532) (17.2) %
Remington 149,673  47,287  102,386  216.5  %
Premier 11,604  30,580  (18,976) (62.1) %
JSAV 37,881  110,609  (72,728) (65.8) %
OpenKey 1,479  987  492  49.8  %
Corporate and other 26,622  17,086  9,536  55.8  %
Total revenues $ 297,428  $ 291,250  $ 6,178  2.1  %
________
(1)The increase in base advisory fee is primarily due to higher revenue of $2.3 million from Ashford Trust partially offset by lower revenue of $518,000 from Braemar.
(2)     During the year ended December 31, 2020, the Company determined it was no longer probable Braemar would meet the minimum FCCR Condition requirement, as stated in the Braemar advisory agreement, related to the third year installment of Braemar’s 2018 incentive advisory fee. As such, the Company did not recognize any incentive fee revenue related to Braemar in the year ended December 31, 2020. The incentive advisory fee for 2019 includes the pro-rata portion of the second year installment of the Braemar 2018 incentive advisory fee in the amount of $678,000, which was paid in January 2020. Incentive fee payments are subject to meeting the December 31 FCCR Condition each year, as defined in our advisory agreements. Ashford Trust’s annual total stockholder return has not met the incentive fee threshold in any of the
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annual measurement periods subsequent to the 2016 measurement period. Braemar’s annual total stockholder return did not meet the relevant incentive fee thresholds during the 2020, 2019 and 2017 measurement periods.
(3)     Other advisory revenue remained steady. Other advisory revenue from Braemar is a result of the $5.0 million cash payment received upon stockholder approval of the Fourth Amended and Restated Braemar Advisory Agreement in June 2017. The payment is included in “deferred income” on our consolidated balance sheet and is being recognized evenly over the initial ten-year term of the agreement.
(4)     The increase in hotel management revenue is due to our acquisition of Remington in November of 2019.
(5)     The decrease in project management revenue is due to lower revenue from Ashford Trust and Braemar of $11.6 million and $6.4 million, respectively, due to reduced capital expenditures by our clients as a result of COVID-19, offset by an increase in project management revenue from third parties of $1.4 million.
(6)     The $72.7 million decrease in audio visual revenue is the result of COVID-19.
(7)     The increase in debt placement and related fee revenue is due to higher revenue of $4.6 million from Ashford Trust and higher revenue of $1.9 million from Braemar. Debt placement and related fees are earned by Lismore for providing debt placement, modification, forbearance and refinancing services. The increase is primarily due to Lismore’s respective agreements with Ashford Trust and Braemar for providing modifications, forbearances or refinancings of Ashford Trust and Braemar’s loans in the 2020 period due to the financial impact from COVID-19.
(8)     Claims management services include revenue earned from providing insurance claim assessment and administration services to Ashford Trust and Braemar.
(9)     In connection with our ERFP Agreements and legacy key money transaction with Ashford Trust and legacy key money transaction with Braemar, we lease FF&E to Ashford Trust and Braemar rent-free. Our ERFP leases entered into in 2018 with Ashford Trust commenced on December 31, 2018. Consistent with our accounting treatment prior to adopting ASU 2016-02, Leases (“ASU 2016-02”), other revenue for the year ended December 31, 2019, includes a portion of the base advisory fee for leases commencing prior to our adoption, which is equal to the estimated fair value of the lease payments that would have been made.
(10)     The increase in other services revenue is primarily due to increased revenue from OpenKey and RED of $489,000 and $309,000, respectively, and a $2.7 million increase from our acquisition of Marietta in November of 2019 offset by a decrease in revenue from Pure Wellness of $1.3 million. Other services revenue primarily relates to other hotel services provided by our consolidated subsidiaries, OpenKey, RED and Pure Wellness to Ashford Trust, Braemar and other third-parties, and Marietta.
(11)     The increase in cost reimbursement revenue is primarily due to an increase of cost reimbursement revenue of $89.8 million recognized in 2020 for hotel management services from our Remington subsidiary acquired in November of 2019, offset by a decrease in cost reimbursement revenue for advisory services of $11.5 million from 2019.
(12)     See note 19 to our consolidated financial statements for discussion of segment reporting.
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Salaries and Benefits Expense. Salaries and benefits expense decreased by $2.5 million, or 4.2%, to $57.2 million for 2020 compared to 2019. The change in salaries and benefits expense consisted of the following (in thousands):
Year Ended December 31,
2020 2019 $ Change
Cash salaries and benefits:
Salary expense $ 35,173  $ 35,170  $
Bonus expense 13,574  14,314  (740)
Benefits related expenses 6,302  7,499  (1,197)
Total cash salaries and benefits 55,049  56,983  (1,934)
Non-cash equity-based compensation:
Stock option grants (1)
4,347  8,313  (3,966)
Employee equity grant expense 787  95  692 
Total non-cash equity-based compensation 5,134  8,408  (3,274)
Non-cash (gain) loss in deferred compensation plan (2)
(3,012) (5,732) 2,720 
Total salaries and benefits $ 57,171  $ 59,659  $ (2,488)
________
(1)The decrease in stock option grant related expense in the year ended December 31, 2020 primarily relates to the forfeiture of 98,603 options from the voluntary resignation of Douglas A. Kessler, Senior Managing Director of the Company, in May of 2020 and due to the Company not issuing any stock option grants during the year ended December 31, 2020.
(2)    The DCP obligation is recorded as a liability at fair value with changes in fair value reflected in earnings. The gains in 2020 and 2019 are primarily attributable to a decrease in the fair value of the DCP obligation. See note 16 to our consolidated financial statements.
Cost of Revenues for Project Management. Cost of revenues for project management decreased $2.3 million, or 39.8% to $3.5 million during 2020 compared to $5.9 million for 2019, due to reduced capital expenditures by our clients as a result of COVID-19.
Cost of Revenues for Audio Visual. Cost of revenues for audio visual decreased $52.0 million, or 63.2%, to $30.3 million during 2020 compared to $82.2 million for 2019, primarily due to a significant decline in business and cost control initiatives implemented by JSAV in the United States, Mexico and the Dominican Republic as a result of COVID-19.
Depreciation and Amortization Expense. Depreciation and amortization expense increased by $15.4 million, or 62.8%, to $40.0 million for 2020 compared to 2019, primarily as a result of an increase of $11.4 million in amortization of management contracts acquired in our acquisition of Remington in November 2019 and an increase of $2.4 million in depreciation related to ERFP assets. Depreciation and amortization expense for 2020 and 2019 excludes depreciation expense related to audio visual equipment of $4.9 million and $4.7 million, respectively, which is included in “cost of revenues for audio visual” and also excludes depreciation expense for 2020 and 2019 related to marine vessels in the amount of $795,000 and $441,000, respectively, which are included in “other” operating expense. Depreciation and amortization expense for 2019 excludes $1.5 million of depreciation expense of capitalized software included in “reimbursed expenses.”
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General and Administrative Expense. General and administrative expenses decreased by $13.1 million, or 39.2%, to $20.4 million for 2020 compared to 2019. The change in general and administrative expense consisted of the following (in thousands):
Year Ended December 31,
2020 2019 $ Change
Professional fees (1)
$ 5,357  $ 16,090  $ (10,733)
Office expense 7,347  7,692  (345)
Public company costs 336