Maguire Properties Inc., a Los Angeles real-estate investment trust that is fighting hedge funds for control of the company, indicated it is up for sale for the second time in 13 months, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The company announced it is forming a special committee to explore strategic alternatives. The committee will be made of independent directors and won't include Maguire Properties' chief executive and founder, Robert Maguire. JMB Capital Partners Master Fund LP, a hedge fund that raised its stake in Maguire Properties last week, has urged Maguire Properties to form such a committee and has demanded that Mr. Maguire not sit on it.
Maguire Properties looked at strategic alternatives in late 2006, but the board decided then to continue as a public company. In 2007, Maguire shares have been hit hard during the credit crunch that slammed all real-estate companies. A number of hedge funds jumped in, seeing opportunity to force a sale of the company.
Shares were down 6.2%, or $1.68, to $25.26 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock composite trading yesterday. They have fallen 37% since the beginning of the year.
In a sign the company hasn't given up the fight completely, the board also amended the company's bylaws to move closer to the annual meeting the advance-notice period for shareholders to submit director nominations or other proposals. JMB Capital had threatened to propose an entire slate of directors at the 2008 annual meeting if its demands -- including exploring a possible sale of the company -- weren't met. The board's vote last night will give JMB and other hedge funds that have taken a large stake the company shorter notice to propose that slate of directors.
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