Mr. Schron’s bid would possibly disrupt the plans already in the works to sell the Empire State Building as part of a public offering, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Proposing to make a $50 million non-refundable deposit once the contract was signed, and closing within 90 days, Mr. Schron alternately offered the current owners an option to participate in a new ownership structure for the 102-story tower, located at 350 Fifth Avenue, according to a report on “The Real Deal.”
Malkin Holdings is the New York based real-estate family that currently controls and operates the Empire State Building. Mr. Schron’s proposal to buy comes almost a month after the required 80 percent of the building’s investors signed on to approve the creation of a publicly traded real estate investment trust, Empire State Realty Trust, composed of the tower and 20 other buildings, according to “The Real Deal.”
Mr. Schron’s offer of $2.3 billion from his company Cammeby’s International, is below the values that the IPO plan places on the Empire State Building. The letter penned to Malkin Holdings by Mr. Schron’s attorney argues that the main issue is not the value of the building but the value of the stock.
It has been reported that along with his bid, Mr. Schron would also like to make an attempt to acquire the Empire State Building’s managing company. The offer, however faces a number of obstacles. Controlled by the estate of the late Leona Helmsley, the managing company has been a vocal proponent of the IPO plan and may resist efforts by Mr. Schron and other private investors to purchase the building. The Malkin family would also have to a sale of the operating company and the family has indicated on previous occasions that its intentions are on an IPO, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Also on Tuesday, Mr. Schron sent a letter to Jason Meister, a vice president at commercial firm Avison Young (and Stephen Meister’s son) outlining the offer. It identified Avison Young as the exclusive broker in the transaction, and noted that the commission would be paid by the buyer, according to a report on “The Real Deal.”
They also reported that the elder Meister represents investors who have been battling the initial public offering for months, and as of May had six clients who objected to a $55 million settlement that resolved a series of lawsuits from shareholders who had opposed the REIT’s formation. Having argued in a New York court that the buyout provision in the IPO plan is illegal, the court ruled against Meister but he is appealing the decision and hoping he can force a new vote if he prevails upon appeal.
“There is, of course, no guaranty of the price at which Empire State Realty Trust, Inc. securities will trade once the lock-out period expires,” Meister wrote in the letter, according to The Real Deal. “For that reason, we trust that Malkin Holdings, consistent with its fiduciary duties, will give serious consideration to this offer.”
Mr. Schron’s company Cammeby’s owns a number of city assets including the lower 28 floors of the Woolworth Building at 233 Broadway in partnership with the Witkoff Group.
As one of the city’s largest individual landlords, Mr. Schron has estimated holdings of 15 million square feet, including tens of thousands of outer-borough apartments and has formidable stakes in commercial properties. It has been reported that he is quietly investing in things beyond real estate, such as banks and nursing home chains.