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American Financial Calls Off Sale Plans
American Financial Realty Trust, which last week was working with Greenhill and Deutsche Bank as part of a possible sale or privatization (REFI, 8/14), has changed its mind due to weak preliminary bids, as reported on www.iirealestate.com.
Harold Pote, a member of the REIT's board of trustees, has replaced Schorsch, as president and CEO. Pote is the former vice chairman of retail financial services for JP Morgan Chase.
The Jenkintown, Pa.-based company, which buys properties that are net-leased to financial services companies. It had been talking to almost six potential bidders, according to Chairman Lewis Ranieri in a conference call.
On the call, Ranieri said pockets of capital have opened up for American Financial via its partnerships with institutional investors. "We have found people willing to be our partners. These people have a very high opinion regardless of what you might think," he said. The board postponed the original earnings calls two weeks ago because the company was in the middle of one such conversation and proceeding would have been "half baked."
Ranieri also responded to analysts who have long said it needs to improve its transparency in reporting. "We've got to figure out without having the lawyers chop my head off, how to get info out to you," he said. This included not reporting funds from operations under the standard outlined by the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts.
The REIT continues to work with Greenhill and Deutsche Bank and will not close the door on any opportunity or action, Pote said. The board is no longer actively soliciting offers.