2006: Pinehurst not part of potential ClubCorp sale

For anyone who wants to buy some golf courses and business clubs, there’s a seller looking to unload a pretty big portfolio. ClubCorp Inc., the Dallas-based firm whose holdings include such high-profile resorts as Pinehurst, The Homestead and Barton Creek, as well as 71 country clubs and nearly 60 business and sports clubs, has announced plans to sell them.

All of the properties, that is, but hallowed Pinehurst, which comprises eight courses, three hotels and a spa. The Dedman family, which owns 70 percent of the resort, plans to keep the North Carolina sandhills property if it is indeed successful in selling the balance of its business. ClubCorp was founded in 1957 by Robert Dedman Sr.

The offering is being handled by New York-based Goldman Sachs. The hope at ClubCorp is for its remaining properties, which also include semiprivate and public courses, to sell to a single entity.

“Goldman expects there to be in excess of 25 potential buyers, and our preference certainly would be to sell to one group,” said ClubCorp chief executive officer John Beckert.

The rationale for the sale, which company insiders believe will happen within the next six months, is based largely on the desire of the ClubCorp board members to provide value and liquidity to shareholders. Beckert says the market conditions are favorable for a sale and adds that the company, which posted revenues of $1.04 billion in 2005, is well positioned in its respective businesses.

“The trends for ClubCorp have been very positive the past four years regarding resort occupancy and club membership, and our balance sheet is as good as it has ever been,” he said.

Don Padgett II, president of Pinehurst Inc., said that operations at the facility would be unaffected by a transfer of ownership at the corporate level.

“Pinehurst is and will remain a strong brand,” he said.

Beckert added that the strategic partnership that has long existed between members of ClubCorp clubs and Pinehurst will continue.

“In the event of a sale, ClubCorp club members will retain the same benefits they have today, which includes preferred rates and availability at Pinehurst as well as check-in at a special desk,” he said. “We also plan to continue to hold ClubCorp’s annual club championship and business club championship at Pinehurst as well.”

Beckert also points out that the company is operating business as usual as it pursues its sale.

“We have plans to spend almost $100 million in capital improvements on our existing properties this year, and none of that will be affected one bit by that,” he said.















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