Thomas Properties Cool to Shareholder Offer


Thomas Properties Group Inc. on Tuesday gave a polite brush-off to a large shareholder that wants to take the company private.

Thomas said its board had reviewed a letter by stockholders led by the Weisman Group, which requested a discussion of a strategic review of its properties and the merits of going private.

The July 7 letter, from the Weisman Group’s Lyle Weisman of Sherman Oaks, argued that the company has not recovered from the economic downturn as quickly as it should have and that the restrictions and costs of being a public company reduce profits. Weisman said shares are undervalued.

The Weisman Group includes the Weisman Family Foundation, which is Thomas Properties’ sixth largest shareholder and owns 1.3 million shares, or 3.8 percent of outstanding shares.

James A. Thomas, founder, chairman and chief executive of Thomas, said in Tuesday’s response that the company appreciates Weisman’s interest, but management is in the process of carrying out strategic plan that includes deleveraging its property portfolio and refinancing debt to better terms.

“At this time, the board of directors is focused on the strategic plan being implemented by management and does not believe that it is the right time to entertain discussions of the nature suggested in the Weisman Group’s letter,” Thomas said in a statement.

The response was issued 30 minutes before the market closed. Thomas shares closed up 13 cents, or 4 percent to $3.28 on the Nasdaq, and rose another 4.4 percent in after-market trading.

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