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Maguire Board May Force Out Fonder

Robert Maguire III, developer of many of the skyscrapers in downtown Los Angeles, has abandoned his last-ditch effort to buy the company that he founded, and is on the verge of being forced out as chief executive and chairman, according to people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reports.


The board of Maguire Properties Inc., under pressure from hedge fund investors, is set to vote tomorrow to replace Mr. Maguire as chief executive with Nelson Rising, a former Maguire executive who later ran another real estate company, Catellus Development Corp., people said. The board also is expected to install board member Walter Weisman, who chaired the independent committee that was exploring strategic options, as Maguire chairman.


Mr. Maguire, 73 years old, has been struggling for months to buy at least part of the company himself and as recently as Thursday morning was still talking to his partner, Brookfield Properties Corp., in his latest proposed deal. But he informed those involved that he was dropping his efforts to buy Maguire. Mr. Maguire continued to negotiate with the board Friday to maintain some face-saving role in running the company, people said. Mr. Rising could not be reached. Mr. Weisman and Mr. Maguire didn’t return calls seeking comment.


Mr. Maguire was hampered by the credit crisis and the weakening economy in his efforts to hold on to his company. A number of buyers, including Brookfield, have expressed interested in Maguire’s Los Angeles portfolio. But the sluggish office building market made a sale of the entire company difficult, particularly Maguire’s Orange County properties which lost many tenants involved in the subprime-mortgage industry.


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