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Bruce Karsh, a Founder of Oaktree Capital, Acquires the Ritz-Carlton,
Clayton, Missouri from Maritz, Wolff & Co.

By Tim Bryant, St. Louis Post-DispatchMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Jan. 04, 2013--Although sale terms remain confidential, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Clayton has a new owner.

Maritz, Wolff & Co., which had owned the luxury hotel since the 1990s, sold the property in late December, said Jeff Barone, vice president of asset management at Maritz, Wolff.

The sale has a confidentiality clause, but a source, requesting anonymity, said Thursday the new owner is Bruce Karsh, a founder of Oaktree Capital Management, in Los Angeles.

Karsh, who is from St. Louis, was unavailable for comment.

Lew Wolff, a founder of Maritz, Wolff, said the Ritz-Carlton deal "was a private sale to an individual."

Barone said the hotel will remain a Ritz-Carlton and that Maritz, Wolff will continue to provide asset management. About $3 million in hotel renovations will take place over the next 18 months, he said.

Work on the hotel's lobby lounge will be done in March, Barone said. The hotel ballroom and restaurant will be redone later, he said. Guest rooms were renovated in 2009, he said.

A legal skirmish between Maritz, Wolff and the manager of the luxury hotel chain ended in early 2011. Maritz, Wolff and Maryland-based Ritz-Carlton reached a confidential settlement in a dispute over millions of dollars in fees.

Maritz, Wolff -- which has offices in Clayton and Los Angeles -- had threatened to cancel a management agreement with Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. Ritz-Carlton responded with a suit to stop that from happening.

A claim that the Clayton Ritz did not meet a minimum $4 million annual profit from 2008 to 2010 was a focus of disputes over interpretations of contract terms regarding fees due to Maritz, Wolff if the minimum profits were not reached. The parties said in February 2011 they had resolved the matter.


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