Monday, January 4, 2010

Melting Pot Restaurants Partner with Warner Bros. Pictures for Valentine’s Day Promotion Featuring SKYY® Vodka

TAMPA, FL--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Melting Pot Restaurants (, a national fondue franchise, is giving away more than $20,000 in prizes, including a grand prize trip to Los Angeles for the premiere of the new Warner Bros. romantic comedy release, “Valentine’s Day,” as well as featuring three new SKYY® Vodka “Love Potion” cocktails starting Dec. 31, in a drive to increase Club Fondue membership and enhance brand awareness. “Valentine’s Day” opens nationwide on Feb. 12, 2010.

“Considering we are one of the most popular restaurants of choice for Valentine’s Day, this partnership and program with Warner Bros., featuring SKYY Vodka cocktails, just made sense for our brand as a way to create memorable experiences for guests and incentivize them to return,” says Kendra Shier,  (top right photo) vice president of brand development for The Melting Pot.

 “This is also the first time we will be using outlets like Twitter and Facebook to get guests interested in a national initiative like joining our Club Fondue program.”

The “Valentine’s Day Red Carpet Premiere Sweepstakes” site contains the following:

Club Fondue membership information and sign-up – This program offers fondue features including wine tastings, food samplings, invitations to special events and advanced holiday reservation privileges.

For more information about this promotion, log onto The Melting Pot’s Web site at, or contact the nearest location.

With more than 145 restaurants nationwide, existing locations in 37 states including the District of Columbia, and over 13 locations currently in development, The Melting Pot Restaurants Inc. is the country’s premier fondue restaurant franchise.

At The Melting Pot, fondue becomes a memorable four-course dining experience where patrons can dip into something different. Guests enjoy a choice of four flavorful fondue cooking styles and a variety of unique entrées combined with special dipping sauces.

The menu also includes creamy cheese fondues, lively salads, fine wines and mouthwatering chocolate fondue desserts. Founded in 1975, The Melting Pot’s corporate headquarters are in Tampa, Fla.

Contact: Sandy D’Elosua, National Director of Public Relations and Social Media, 813-425-6217,,

Equity Residential Announces Completion and Results of Tender Offer by ERP Operating Limited Partnership for Its Exchangeable Notes

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Equity Residential (NYSE:EQR) today announced that its operating partnership, ERP Operating Limited Partnership (the “Operating Partnership”), accepted for purchase approximately $48.5 million of the principal amount of its outstanding 3.85% Exchangeable Senior Notes due August 15, 2026, which were validly tendered pursuant to its previously announced cash tender offer (the “Exchangeable Notes Offer”).

The Exchangeable Notes Offer expired at 12:00 Midnight, Eastern Standard Time, on December 30, 2009. Payment for notes purchased pursuant to the Exchangeable Notes Offer was made on December 31, 2009.

The aggregate consideration for the Exchangeable Notes accepted for purchase, including accrued and unpaid interest of approximately $0.7 million, was approximately $49.2 million.

As a result of the non-cash write-off of certain unamortized costs and a discount related to the Exchangeable Notes, the company will record a charge to earnings and funds from operations (FFO) of approximately $1.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2009.

 Combined with the charge of approximately $23.2 million, announced in a press release dated December 10, 2009, for the recent tender for certain of the Operating Partnership’s Non-Exchangeable Notes, the company will record a combined total charge to earnings and FFO of approximately $24.9 million, or $0.09 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2009.

 This charge was not included in the fourth quarter and full year 2009 guidance ranges announced on October 28, 2009 in conjunction with the company’s third quarter 2009 earnings release.

To view  a summary of the company’s recent tender offers for certain of the Operating Partnership’s notes, please contact Marty McKenna, Equity Residential,  312-928-1901

Starwood Hotels Completes Sale of Bliss Spas to Steiner Leisure for $100M

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT) announced today that it has completed the sale of the Bliss spa and product company to Steiner Leisure Limited (Nasdaq:STNR) for $100 million.

As part of the transaction, Bliss and Remède spas and amenities will remain exclusive to Starwood in the hotel category at W Hotels and St. Regis Hotels, respectively. Additionally, Starwood’s Aloft brand will continue to offer Bliss Tried+Blue amenities.

“Not only does this sale further our strategy to focus exclusively on our global hospitality business and our nine distinct and compelling hotel brands, but our ongoing and exclusive relationship with Steiner Leisure means that we will continue to distinguish our spa offerings in our W and St. Regis hotels and provide amenities that are guest favorites,” said Frits van Paasschen (top right photo), President and CEO of Starwood.

“The sale of Bliss, coupled with several other recent sale transactions we’ve announced, demonstrate that despite today’s tough economic conditions we’re able to sell assets at strong multiples.”

In addition to Bliss spas in W Hotels and Remède spas in St. Regis hotels, Starwood has more than 300 spa properties in its hotels and resorts around the world, such as the award winning Heavenly Spa by Westin  (middle left photo) at the Westin Beijing Financial Street, Spa Gaucin at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort, (bottom right photo)  and GB Spa at the Hotel Grande Bretagne, a Luxury Collection Hotel in Athens.

Starwood also develops and operates proprietary spa brands including Heavenly Spa by Westin, Explore Spa by Le Mèridien and Shine Spa for Sheraton.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 982 properties in more than 100 countries and 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties.

 Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels and resorts with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, AloftSM, and ElementSM.

Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit

Contact:   K.C. Kavanagh, 914-640-8339, Website: