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By Michael Flaherty
NEW YORK, April 27 (Reuters) - Hedge fund Snow Park Capital Partners has taken a 4.6 percent stake in Ashford Hospitality Prime Inc, according to a person familiar with the matter, and plans to push the company to move more quickly with a stock buyback plan.
Snow Park becomes the second activist to target Ashford Hospitality Prime, which has been under attack from hedge fund Sessa Capital.
“We encourage the company to expeditiously execute its $50 million buy-back plan to take advantage of its depressed trading price,” Snow Park Managing Partner Jeffrey Pierce said in an emailed statement.
But Snow Park’s approach to the real estate investment trust appears to be more friendly than Sessa’s campaign, which has led to nasty exchanges between the two sides.
Sessa, a New York-based hedge fund, has sued the company and nominated five directors for Ashford Prime’s board, while pushing the REIT to seek a buyer.
“We welcome Snow Park’s support and constructive input, and agree that executing on our recently announced share repurchase plan is the most strategic way to maximize value for all of our shareholders,” Ashford Prime said in an emailed statement.
Ashford’s other REIT, Ashford Hospitality Trust, which also invests in hotels, is itself under pressure from another shareholder, Rambleside Holdings. The third arm of Ashford’s real estate group is Ashford Inc., which manages the assets of the Prime and Trust REITs. (Reporting by Michael Flaherty in New York; Editing by James Dalgleish)