June 26, 2013 6:40 pm

Empire State Building receives second bid

Empire State Building©AFP

An unidentified bidder has made a $2.1bn offer for New York’s Empire State Building, the second takeover proposal for the landmark skyscraper ahead of its planned initial public offering.

Two unsolicited bids made last week are being reviewed, according to a regulatory filing on Wednesday by Malkin Holdings, the controller of the building, which plans to create a real estate investment trust.

“We are reviewing the offers and their terms. We consider all matters, including unsolicited offers, consistent with our fiduciary duties, to form a judgment on what action is appropriate. We do not intend to issue a comment until after our review,” said Malkin.

The Empire State Realty Trust, to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange, aims to bring together the skyscraper and other New York-area properties in its portfolio. The $1bn public offering would be the second largest by a US real estate investment trust, according to data provider Dealogic.

After more than a year of bitter wrangling with a cluster of dissidents, Malkin received approvals from investors representing more than the required 80 per cent of the 3,300 Empire State Building units, allowing the controversial IPO to move forward.

The unsolicited offers for the building face several obstacles. Any sale needs consent from the estate of hotels mogul Leona Helmsley, the skyscraper’s largest stakeholder, and Malkin which have firmly set their sights on the IPO. In addition, the transaction would have to be approved by a majority of shareholders.

Cammeby’s International, which is run by Rubin Schron, a New York property investor who owns a partial stake in Manhattan’s Woolworth Building, made the first offer on June 18, seeking to buy the building for $2bn in cash.

Mr Schron, through a lawyer representing the minority of investors who oppose the IPO, offered a non-refundable deposit of $50m when a contract is signed and promised to complete the deal within 90 days.

The estimated value of the Reit is about $4.2bn, with the Empire State Building alone valued at $2.5bn, including debt, according to filings.

However, even as Malkin seeks to move forward with its IPO, market conditions have deteriorated. The prospect of the US Federal Reserve slowing its bond buying programme has rocked Reits, as investors sold shares of companies vulnerable to rising interest rates.

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