ATLANTA-The decision by locally based Lodgian Inc. to be bought by a private equity firm has already sparked controversy among its investors. Several law firms have lined up seeking shareholders to block a $54.2-million cash offer for the independent hotel owner and operator.

The law firms accuse Lodgian of accepting a price that is well below its inherent value. They also question whether Lodgian’s board of directors breached their fiduciary duties by not shopping around the company before unanimously approving the acquisition agreement.

Lodgian announced Friday that it plans to merge with an affiliate of Dallas-based Lone Star Funds in a transaction valued at $270 million, including assumed debt. Lone Star, which specializes in distressed commercial real estate, is offering $2.50 for each outstanding share of Lodgian stock.

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