CBL Properties Settles with Activist Investor


Shares pop after real estate firm adds new board members.

CBL Properties stock rallied nearly 10% this morning after it reached a settlement with Exeter Capital investors. The real estate giant has added Exeter president Michael Ashner and Carolyn Tiffany to its board of directors.

The companies released a statement on the agreement on Friday, Nov. 1.

The board of directors also plans to create a new capital allocation committee. This group will review allocation plans, capital structure matters, and financial strategies. This committee comprises Michael Ashner, independent board member Richard Lieb, and CBL CEO Stephen Lebovitz.

We welcome Michael and Carolyn to CBL’s Board as independent directors,” said Lebovitz. “Both Michael and Carolyn bring extensive real estate, financing and public company board experience to CBL. We look forward to their contributions as we execute on our strategic priorities of strengthening our balance sheet, preserving free cash flow and reducing leverage as well as solidifying the long-term market dominance of our assets by completing transformative redevelopments.”

CBL Properties and Exeter Capital

Meanwhile, the real estate firm has engaged in discussions for Exeter for several months. In August, activist firm Exeter Capital took a 6% stake in the firm and recommended strategic changes. The activist also stepped in after CBL slashed its dividend for two straight years.

Under the terms of the new agreement, Exeter agreed to certain standstill and voting commitments. Furthermore, this agreement will last through the 2020 Annual Meeting or for as long as Ashner remains on the CBL Board.

“I look forward to working with the CBL Board and management team to unlock value for all CBL shareholders,” said Ashner. “I invested in the common shares of CBL because I believe they are deeply undervalued and have significant potential for growth and long-term value creation for all shareholders.”

Related: Dominion Energy Transfers Stake in Cove Point to Brookfield Asset Management

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