Wilshire, NWJ Agree to Merger

Wilshire Enterprises Inc. and NWJ Cos., a privately owned real estate development company, announced today that they have entered into a merger agreement providing for a purchase price of $3.88 per share in cash for each of the approximately 7.9 million Wilshire common shares outstanding. The purchase price represents a 23 percent premium to the average closing price of Wilshire’s common stock for the 30 trading days preceding today’s announcement. Under the merger agreement, Wilshire may continue to solicit proposals for alternative transactions from third parties for the 30-day period ending July 16. Completion of the transaction is expected to occur during the third quarter of 2008. A  person with knowledge of the deal told CPN that the sale of Wilshire has been in the works for a long time. “A substantially larger real estate company would have paid as much for compliance with regulations. This was part of a long strategic process to realize the inherit value of the assets and to maximize shareholder value.” The cost of compliance with filings and regulations as a publicly traded company was quite high relative to the size of the assets, the spokesperson said, adding that the members of Wilshire’s management team may stay on after the merger, but that is still subject to negotiation. According to NASDAQ, Wilshire’s stock has seen a 52 week high of $6 and a 52 week low of $2.41. NWJ  owns approximately 4,000 units under the Signature Community brand. Its holdings are located in the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and the West. Wilshire’s portfolio, primarily in Arizona, Texas and New Jersey, includes five apartment properties with 950 units, 11 condominium units, two office buildings and a retail/office center with approximately 200,000 square feet.