Equity Returns Fire in Archstone Battle

The newest development in the Equity Residential saga has been filed in court, as the company put forth a motion to intervene in the ongoing legal proceedings regarding the sale of an interest in Archstone.

December 30, 2011
By Nicholas Ziegler, News Editor

The newest development in the Equity Residential saga has been filed in court, as the company put forth a motion to intervene as a “party of interest” in the ongoing legal proceedings between Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Bank of America / Barclays Bank P.LC. regarding the sale of an interest in the entities that control Archstone directly to Equity.

The preliminary injunction hearing requested by Equity is scheduled to take place Jan. 5, 2012. According to a press release, “Equity Residential does not believe that the company’s intervention in the case will create any delays in the ongoing proceedings.”

As Commercial Property Executive previously reported, the players are the Lehman estate, which owns 47 percent of Archstone; the company’s former partners in acquiring Archstone, Bank of America Corp. and Barclays PLC, which owns 53 percent of Archstone; and Sam Zell’s Equity Residential, which wants to buy half of the banks’ stake (26.5 percent) in Archstone, as a first step to becoming the boss of the whole shooting match. Equity Residential has made a bid that values Archstone at $16 billion, but the Lehman estate doesn’t want the apartment company sold, but rather to be fodder for an IPO.

On Dec. 2, 2011, Equity made its initial $1.33 billion offer for the 26.5 percent stake, but on Dec. 15, Lehman sued BoA and Barclays, asking for a preliminary injunction that would prevent the sale. The suit alleged that the banks colluded to sell to the Sam Zell-owned Equity.