WASHINGTON—August, 2006— LAWFUEL – Legal News Network – A hotel development fund affiliated with RLJ Development LLC and controlled by Robert L. Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television and owner of the NBA Charlotte Bobcats, has just completed its acquisition of an additional 24 hotels from White Lodging Services Corporation of Merrillville, Indiana.
Lawyers from Arent Fox, a Washington-based law firm with extensive real estate experience in the Washington region and nationally, assisted RLJ in the completion of this second phase of a 100-hotel acquisition.
The Firm, which has served as counsel to RLJ Development since its inception in 2000, has assisted all of the various RLJ Development affiliates in their acquisitions and financing of hospitality and other properties. From an initial acquisition of seven hotels in late 2000 through the closing of the White Lodging portfolio, lawyers at Arent Fox have advised RLJ on over 150 transactions involving nearly $3 billion.
The transactions have been complex and logistically challenging. Large teams of attorneys, legal assistants and support staff have been required in order to achieve RLJ’s goals.
Over 25 attorneys worked in a coordinated manner to address the many difficult issues posed by the White Lodging portfolio transaction and to meet the extremely tight deadlines of the transaction— less than five months from contract signing to closing. Attorneys with experience in many disciplines came together to solve a wide variety of issues. Led by Arent Fox partner, Gerard Leval, groups of the Firm’s lawyers handled extensive due diligence, negotiated intricate financing arrangements and franchising matters and ultimately coordinated two major closings to complete a transaction that has made RLJ one of the largest Marriott franchisees in the world.
The Arent Fox teams worked in tandem with RLJ’s experienced professionals, under the leadership of Thomas J. Baltimore, Jr., President of RLJ Development, LLC. Baltimore has been the chief executive of RLJ Development from its very beginning, overseeing its growth into the major hospitality property owner that it has become.
Leval lauded both the close relationship between Arent Fox and RLJ and the quality of the legal work performed by the Arent Fox teams: “The high level of professionalism shown by all the Arent Fox participants in this project was the essential ingredient that made it possible to close the transaction in a timely and efficient manner.” He added, that “In order to achieve the challenges posed by the White Lodging acquisition, it was necessary for RLJ and Arent Fox to work in a particularly close and coordinated manner, which only a long-term relationship makes possible.”
RLJ Development, based in Bethesda, Md., is the nation’s largest African-American hotel ownership company. As a cornerstone of Robert Johnson’s entrepreneurial efforts after his sale of BET to Viacom Inc. in 2001, RLJ has completed various transactions that have made it a major private equity firm.
About Arent Fox
Arent Fox, with offices in Washington and New York, is recognized a leader in areas including real estate, finance, international trade, intellectual property, health care/ life sciences and litigation. With nearly 300 lawyers, the firm has a wide range of expertise in corporate securities and transactions, financial restructuring and bankruptcy, government relations and regulation, labor and employment law, finance, tax, corporate compliance and global business matters. Arent Fox provides services to Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, trade associations, foreign governments, long-term care facilities, start-up companies and other entities.