ResortQuest International, Inc. (NYSE: RZT - news), the first brand name and online booking service (resortquest.com) in vacation rentals, resort property management and real estate sales, today announced that the company has acquired Worthy Owner Rental Group, dba Worthy Rentals, Inc., for $11.6 million in cash and stock. Worthy Rentals is a leading property management company in Hilton Head Island, S.C. The acquisition marks ResortQuest`s entry into this high-demand resort market and adds 343 vacation rental units to the company`s current portfolio of more than 14,000 properties across North America.
Worthy Rentals is ResortQuest`s ninth acquisition since its May 1998 IPO and the fifth announced in the past four weeks. The nine companies, aggregating 4,000 total units, represent a 40 percent increase in ResortQuest`s initial portfolio of vacation rental units. The Hilton Head acquisition—the company`s first in South Carolina—is expected to be immediately accretive to 1999 earnings.
Incorporated in 1983, Worthy Rentals provides rental property management services primarily in Sea Pines Plantation, one of Hilton Head`s most recognized gated resort communities and the site of three world-class golf courses.
``Hilton Head is an important addition to our portfolio and extends our reach into one of the most desirable resort destinations in the country,`` said David Sullivan, ResortQuest chairman and CEO. ``A major golf and beach vacation destination, Hilton Head, S.C. attracts nearly 2 million visitors annually. Our acquisition pipeline remains quite active, and we are aggressively pursuing additional acquisition candidates in other prime vacation markets.``
``Worthy Rentals` portfolio of 343 premium home and villa rentals represents about a 10 percent market share of available units in Sea Pines,`` said David Levine, president and COO of ResortQuest. ``We have a wonderful opportunity to expand our portfolio—not only within Sea Pines, but to Hilton Head`s 10 other gated resort communities, with more than 15,000 completed residential units, as well as to choice oceanfront locations. The Worthy family has deep roots in this community and knows how to build and maintain solid relationships with unit owners.``
``Our affiliation with ResortQuest and resortquest.com allows us to offer stepped-up services, benefits and marketing support for our owners that are available nowhere else,`` said Frances Worthy, president of Worthy Rentals. ``Resortquest.com, combined with the company`s aggressive marketing and advertising program, extends our customer reach globally, which enables us to enhance occupancy and revenue for our existing owners. The opportunity for our owners to receive exclusive travel privileges at other ResortQuest locations through the company`s QuestClub owners program is another very attractive benefit.``
ResortQuest provides the first one-stop resource for vacation home and condominium rentals in premier resort destinations in North America. ResortQuest also is the first branded vacation rental, property management and real estate sales company to offer online booking through resortquest.com. ResortQuest`s current locations include Gulf Shores, Ala.; Palm Desert, Calif.; Aspen, Breckenridge, Dillon and Telluride, Colo.; Bethany Beach, Del.; Captiva Island, Destin/Ft. Walton Beach and Sanibel Island, Fla.; St. Simons Island, Ga.; Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai, Hawaii; Nantucket, Mass.; Big Sky, Mont.; the Outer Banks of North Carolina; Sunriver, Ore.; Hilton Head, S.C.; Park City, Utah; and Whistler, British Columbia.
ResortQuest maintains corporate offices in Memphis, Tenn.