Bill Ackman-linked real estate company soars on sale news
A real estate investment company linked to billionaire Bill Ackman soared more than 35 percent Thursday after it confirmed a report that it had hired an investment bank to explore a possible sale.
Howard Hughes Corporation, which counts New York City’s South Street Seaport District among its assets, hired Centerview Partners to review its strategic options. The sale was triggered by ongoing concerns among executives — including Ackman, the chairman — that the stock has been lagging the value of its holdings, according to CNBC, which first reported the move Thursday.
Shares of the real estate investment trust, or REIT, reached an all-time high of $160.00 in August 2014 but were trading in the low-$90s Wednesday.
As of 12:06 pm Thursday, the stock was up 36.7 percent at $126.35 apiece.
“The board and management are determined to close the significant gap between our share price and the company’s underlying net asset value,” chief executive David Weinreb said in a statement confirming the CNBC report.
Howard Hughes’ assets include a mix of land, residential and commercial space, including prime beach front property in Hawaii and an NFL stadium under construction outside of Las Vegas. And just this week, Howard Hughes announced that it secured a $250 million loan for the redevelopment of the Seaport.
The company may be sold in whole but it may also consider joint ventures or spin-offs of certain properties.
A whole sale of the company could mean that it ends up in the hands of Blackstone Group or Brookfield Property Partners, according to CNBC, which first reported the news.
However other buyers, such as private equity firms looking to build out their own real estate arms could also emerges, sources said.
Another scenario could emerge where a well-heeled billionaire’s family office could scoop up Howard Hughes in whole or in part, the sources said.
Howard Hughes emerged as a spin-off from General Growth Partners in November 2010 following pressure from Ackman. who serves as chairman of Howard Hughes holds a 12.5 percent stake in the company, including derivatives, through his Pershing Square hedge fund, according to sources.
At its debut on the New York Stock Exchange, shares traded in the mid-$30s.
Centerview’s review is expected to be completed later this summer, sources told The Post.
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