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Middle Eastern Bidder Offers $2.1B to Buy Empire State Building

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The most famous skyscraper in the world is the subject of a bidding war between some of New York’s finest.

Most recently, an unidentified Middle Eastern buyer working with two local families put in a $2.1 billion bid for New York’s Empire State Building.

The local parties are Joe Tabak and Philip Pilevsky, according to the New York Post.

Meanwhile, the bidder- believed to be a non-Arab investor- has set the stakes pretty high, according to a regulatory filing.

“To this guy, it’s like buying a painting,” said the source of the Middle Easterner. “It will be very hard to stop them. They will keep ratcheting up the offer until they get it.”

Pilevsky, president of New York-based Philips International, said the offer is in cash. He also declined to identify the Middle Eastern group.

“My partners want to be discreet,” he told Bloomberg.com in a telephone interview.

The bid outdoes an offer from Rubin Schron, a New York real estate investor, who proposed buying the skyscraper for $2 billion. Schron is the part-owner of another landmark skyscraper, the Woolworth Building.

Pilevsky, president of New York-based Philips International, said he was contacted by the Middle Eastern partners about making the bid. He also declined to further identify the Middle Eastern group, but he did mention that the offer is in cash.

“They view it as a last opportunity” to acquire the tower before it becomes part of the REIT, he said.

The bids come as the Empire State Building is in the process of becoming a multi-office building IPO by Malkin Holdings, which expects its partner in the operating company, the Helmsley Estate, to sell its shares to the public, according to the New York Post.

Malkin Holdings — led by Chairman Peter Malkin and his son Anthony, the company’s president — is moving forward with plans to form a real estate investment trust that would include the landmark Manhattan tower.

There are also 3,000 shares held by the company and other investors in the land right below the building.

Tabak’s company, the New York-based Princeton Holdings LLC, is an investor in one of the Toy buildings that was purchased from the Malkins.

Pilvesky owns many properties in throughout New York, including one on 40 Rector Street, and he is also known for the development of the Bryant Park Hotel.

“This is a real bid,” an inside source told the New York Post. “They will work with the Malkins and want to upscale the retail and make other changes.”

The Malkins broke the news of the latest bid in the SEC filing last week.

“We are reviewing the offers and their terms,” Peter and Anthony Malkin said in a letter to investors dated June 24. “We consider all matters, including unsolicited offers, consistent with our fiduciary duties, to form a judgment on what action is appropriate.”

They won’t comment further until the review is completed, according to the letter.

Pilevsky told the New York Post that the Malkins “know” his group’s offer is viable, tough he declined to elaborate.

An assessment of the Empire State Building values the property at $2.53 billion, the Malkins have said in separate filings.

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