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- April 2008: Vol. 20 No. 4

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The Right Time for REITs? Debt Market Turmoil Limits LBO Opportunities

by Brad Berton

After a high-flying half-decade, shares of publicly traded U.S. real estate investment trusts took quite the tumble during the past year. The sector’s decline generally pushed REIT share prices from an average premium of 20 percent over the net asset value of a trust’s property portfolio to a roughly 20 percent discount to NAV, calculates Keith Pauley, managing director with Chicago-based LaSalle Investment Management’s global real estate securities group.

The shift in REIT prices brings up a pertinent question on many an institutional capital manager’s mind these days: Should tax-exempt investors selectively buy up REIT shares in anticipation that sagging prices will generate another round of leveraged buyouts and the stock-boosting bidding wars they inevitably spawn? After all, a whole lot of high-profile REITs were privatized during the past several years — when their stocks were mostly trading at premiums to NAV. Likewise, notwithstanding

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