New York REIT Inc.’s Board of Directors has chosen Winthrop REIT Advisors LLC as its new external adviser, the company announced today. The struggling REIT’s Board of Directors employed the help of third-party financial and legal advisors to select Winthrop, according to a press release.
A total of 31 entities were contacted by the Board to submit proposals, and 14 were received. After a thorough review process, Winthrop was selected to oversee the company’s proposed liquidation plan, and help maximize shareholder value. The plan is still pending stockholder approval.
The move comes after New York REIT activist investors Steven Witkoff and Michael Ashner voted to replace former CEO Michael Happel with Wendy Silverstein, according to a report from The Real Deal.
Chairman of the Board, Randolph C. Read, said in a statement, “Following an extensive vetting process, the Board chose Winthrop and Silverstein for their deep real estate background and Winthrop’s extensive experience leading companies through liquidation events.”
Silverstein is the former vice president of Vornado Realty Trust. Ashner is the CEO of Winthrop Realty Trust. Ashner and Witkoff invested in New York REIT through the entity WW Investors.
New York REIT, a publicly traded alternative investment trust, was formed as a spinoff of American Realty Capital in 2010. American Realty Capital later found itself at the center of an accounting scandal.
The company will hold two stockholder meetings: a special meeting to approve the liquidation and dissolution plan, and its annual vote on the election of directors. The timing of the meetings, according to the company’s statement, will allow New York REIT to initiate liquidation accounting for fiscal 2017.
The move will cut back on accounting costs, and allow the company to remain in compliance with the New York Stock Exchange’s annual meeting requirements.
The vote on the election of directors will be held on December 30, 2016, while the vote on the liquidation and dissolution plan will take place on January 3, 2017. The liquidation plan is expected to be approved. Shareholders of record on November 10, 2016, at the close of business, are entitled to vote at both meetings.
“We believe the bifurcation of the Annual Meeting is in the best interests of NYRT and its stockholders,” said Ashner.
Shareholders are expected to approve the liquidation and dissolution plan.
The company plans to sell its assets, which includes a 49% stake in New York’s Worldwide Plaza on Eighth Avenue.
The liquidation plan was instigated by a failed $8.4 billion merger with JBG Companies, a Washington D.C. landlord, earlier in the year.
Winthrop will oversee all aspects of the proposed liquidation plan. If approved, the Board plans to move forward expeditiously with the plan.
Details of the agreement with ARG and the external management agreement with Winthrop can be found in Form 8-K filed with the SEC (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission).
Earlier in the day, New York REIT announced the appointment of Winthrop REIT Advisors, the company also announced the extension of its agreement with New York Recovery Advisors LLC.