Maguire Still Looking for Way Out of Money Troubles

Southern California office landlord Maguire Properties has decided to extend its “review [of] strategic alternatives,” according to a statement it issued this morning.In December, the Los Angeles-based REIT had formed a special committee of independent directors to explore what to do in light of its difficulties, up to and including selling the entire company, and it seems that the committee will now continue its review.A number of bids were expected early this month from parties interesting in taking the REIT private, include a group led by company founder and long-time CEO Robert Maguire. It isn’t clear from the statement whether Maguire has rejected these bids, or whether the committee merely wants more time to consider the offers. As of early this afternoon, Maguire hadn’t responded to inquires by CPN on this point.The company has also moved to postpone its annual shareholders meeting, which has previously been held in June. This year, the meeting will probably be in August.As previously reported by CPN, Maguire took on high levels of debt with its  acquisition last April of a 24-building Orange County and Los Angeles portfolio from the Blackstone Group L.P. for about $3 billion. Late last year, major stockholder JMB Capital Partners took thecompany to task for its debt, and suggested the sort of review committee that Maguire’s board ultimately formed.Late in February, Bank of America upgraded Maguire from “sell” to “neutral,” citing the possibility that privatization might mean an offer for stockholders in the mid-$30s per share. Currently, shares are trading at $21.76, which represents a drop of about 41 percent in value since this time last year.