Activist Investor Corvex Takes 7.1% Stake in American Realty

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Activist investment firm Corvex Management LP reported a 7.1% stake in American Realty Capital Properties Inc., the U.S. real estate investment trust that has plunged since disclosing accounting errors two months ago.

Corvex, run by former Carl Icahn protege Keith Meister, has accumulated about 64.7 million shares, including stock underlying call options, the firm said in a regulatory filing. The New York-based company paid about $71 million for the 7.925 million owned shares and $158 million for the options, according to the filing.

American Realty Capital Properties, or ARCP, has fallen 32% since revealing Oct. 29 that it had accounting errors that were intentionally concealed, leading to the resignation of its chief financial and chief accounting officers. Three of the company’s other top executives resigned two weeks ago, and the REIT is reviewing its capital structure and dividend policy.

Corvex said today that it has had talks with ARCP’s board to discuss adding a representative and ways to boost value.

“We commend the board’s decision to retain qualified advisors in seeking to promptly resolve past issues and position the company to look to the future rather than focusing on the past,” Corvex said. “This is a time of transition and a unique opportunity for a ‘new start’ for the company and its shareholders.”

Activist investors generally acquire equity stakes in publicly traded companies and agitate executives and directors to make changes they believe will boost shareholder returns. Corvex has targeted real estate-focused companies including Commonwealth REIT, an office landlord now known as Equity Commonwealth; and Crown Castle International Corp., which owns wireless network towers.

ARCP, based in New York, is the largest owner of single-tenant U.S. buildings, with more than 4,000 properties across the country. The company said it has had “constructive conversations” with Corvex.

“The board will continue to prioritize transparency and an open dialogue with all stockholders, as well as the best path forward for the company and its employees, as it seeks to stabilize and strengthen ARCP,” the REIT said in a statement.

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