Shareholder Suggests Thomas Go Private


One of Thomas Property Group Inc.’s largest shareholders says the Los Angeles company’s shares are undervalued and wants its board to consider taking the company private with his backing.

Lyle Weisman of the Weisman Group in Sherman Oaks argues that the company has not recovered from the economic downturn as quickly as it should have and that the restrictions and cost of being a public company inhibit its profitability.

“We believe that the company’s stock price does not accurately reflect the real value of the company and its assets,” said Weisman in a letter to the board that was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission late Thursday.

The Weisman Family Foundation is the company’s sixth largest shareholder. It owns 1.3 million shares, or 3.8 percent, of Thomas Properties, which acquires, develops, and manages office, mixed-use and multi-family properties. Among its marquee properties are City National Plaza and 800 S. Hope St. in downtown Los Angeles.

The company’s stock, which closed at $2.58 the day before the July 7 letter, is 100 percent higher than a year earlier, but down 45 percent from its 52-week high in mid-April. Weisman said a stock price closer to $3.75 would better reflect the actual value.

“We know that the overall economy has suffered its ups and downs in that period of time, but we also note that each of the S&P 500, the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq (indexes) have recovered much if not most of the losses they suffered during such period, while the company’s stock price is still struggling,” Weisman said.

Weisman said he wanted to discuss with the board a possible a strategic review of the company’s individual properties to determine whether or not certain properties should continue to be part of its portfolio. He also wants to improve the efficiency of the company’s property management business.

Weisman said he would be interested in partnering with company founder and Chief Executive Jim Thomas and other current senior management to take the company private at “significant premium” to the current stock price.

A Thomas spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Thomas Property shares closed up 23 cents, or 8 percent to $3.14 on the Nasdaq.

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