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Welk Hospitality Group has entered into an agreement with Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation (MVW) to sell the Welk Resorts portfolio of vacation resorts, programs, and property management contracts for approximately $430 million, including approximately 1.4 million MVW common shares, according to a press release Tuesday. The acquisition is expected to close early in the second quarter of 2021.
After the transaction closes, MVW intends to rebrand the Welk-branded vacation resorts in California, Colorado, Missouri, New Mexico, and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico as Hyatt Residence Club properties. This will bring the Hyatt Residence Club portfolio to 24 resorts and complement its existing locations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Nevada, Puerto Rico, and Texas.
“The process to integrate and rebrand the Welk Resorts properties and products will be a complex, longer-term initiative and subject to final approval from Hyatt Hotels Corporation,” according to the release.
Welk Resorts got its start in 1964 when television bandleader Lawrence Welk bought a motel and nine-hole golf course near San Diego as a place where he and his wife Fern could vacation with their kids and grandkids. Since 1999, the company has been led by Welk’s grandson, President, and CEO Jon Fredricks. Lawrence Welk’s son, Larry Welk, is chairman of Welk Resorts’ board, and his great-grandson, Robert Segall, also works as a sales and marketing director for the business.
Larry Welk launched Welk Resorts’ vacation ownership business in 1985 with Lawrence Welk Resort Villas in Escondido, Calif., and, today, he is also CEO and chairman of a sister Welk company in the real estate and entertainment business, which is not a part of this acquisition.
The original San Diego resort location, at 8860 Lawrence Welk Dr., has expanded over the years. It currently sits on 450 acres with two 18-hole golf courses, seven swimming pools, a fitness center, five recreation centers, two waterslides, two escape rooms, a spa, theater, restaurants, and more, and operates under the name Welk Resorts San Diego.
“It is bittersweet after 57 wonderful years of memories and accomplishments to be welcoming a new owner for Welk Resorts,” Jon Fredricks said in the release. “We are confident in MVW and its shared commitment to excellence. Our board and family recognized that its vision, resources, and globally-recognized brand ensure the best long-term future for our valued team members and owners.”