Ryman Hospitality declares special dividend

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Ryman Hospitality Properties Inc. announced Friday that it will issue a special dividend as part of its plans to convert to a real estate investment trust next year.

Real estate investment trusts receive special tax consideration. Their securities sell like stock on major exchanges.

The company's board declared a special dividend of $6.84 per share, roughly $309.7 million based on its shares outstanding. The company said it is making the move for federal income tax purposes.

Ryman plans to distribute its previously undistributed accumulated earnings and profits for tax periods ending prior to Jan. 1 of 2013. Stockholders can choose to take dividend in cash or shares of common stock. The company said it expects to pay the special dividend on Dec. 21.

"The special dividend brings us one step closer to completing our conversion to a REIT effective Jan. 1," Colin Reed, chairman, CEO and president of Ryman, said in a statement.

The company said it believes the structure will better support its strategic direction and tax efficiency, as well as benefit shareholders.

Ryman, formerly known as Gaylord Entertainment Co., is based in Nashville, Tenn. and operates a number of hotels, resorts and entertainment assets, including the Grand Ole Opry.