About St. Joe's Land 'Sale'

Apr. 1.11 | About: St Joe (JOE)

Been getting tons of questions on this so thought I’d answer in bulk.

The news:

The St. Joe Company (NYSE:JOE) announced today that it has completed the sale of a 40,975 acre timber deed to an investment fund managed by Resource Management Service (RMS) for a price of $55.9 million.

"This sale allows St. Joe to accelerate the monetization of a small portion of our standing timber, while retaining the ownership of the underlying land and the long-term options to capitalize on future real estate development opportunities," said Hugh Durden, interim Chief Executive Officer.

Under the terms of the timber deed, RMS has the right to harvest or sell the standing timber on specified stands for a period of up to 20 years. The ages of the timber deed stands range from 15 to 30 years, and are located in Gulf and Calhoun counties, Florida. As individual tracts of land are released by RMS following final harvest, the use of the land reverts immediately back to St. Joe for subsequent reforestation and ongoing timber production, rural land sales, or real estate development.

"The professionals at RMS have a strong track record of sound timberland management, and we look forward to working closely with them in the coming years," said Will Sonnenfeld, Senior Vice President Forestry and Land Sales.

More information regarding the transaction will be available in a Form 8-K to be filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Now, Einhorn and the bears will jump out of their chairs and yell, "$55.9M/40975= $1364 an acre!" they will then extrapolate that across all of JOE’s 577k acres and get a value for all of JOE near $7 a share.

Except, this isn’t really a sale. In reality, JOE rented this land (or simply sold the trees on it) to "RMS." Since the land automatically reverts back to JOE post final harvest without any payment, it is a rental. In essence JOE did what Berkowitz has been saying they should, monetize some of their assets. If there are no plans to develop this tract of land in the near future, by all means, lets rent it for $55 million dollars and use that money for other purposes.

JOE has hundreds of thousands of acres that will not be developed for years, lets rent more of it out for millions ...