Seeking Alpha
  • Today - Friday, December 19, 2014

  • 3:43 PM
    • The program - beginning on Jan.1 and ending Dec. 31 - allows for the purchase of up to 1.085M shares or about 5% of the float.
    • MSFG +1.1%
    • Source: Press Release
    | Comment!
  • 3:22 PM
    • Alistair Capital pens a letter to the audit committee of AmTrust Financial (AFSI -0.2%) over what it believes to be "significant accounting problems that put shareholders, creditors, and policyholders at grave risk."
    • "In light of the lengths to which management has gone in an attempt to silence its critics, one has to wonder what the company is hiding," says Alistair. Among the issues noted are simple discrepancies, such as "other current liabilities" for 2013 being reported as $650.858M in one spot of the report, and $638.004M in another.
    | Comment!
  • 1:25 PM
    • Recent online lending IPOs LendingClub (LC -5%) and OnDeck (ONDK -7.4%) are each seeing big losses.
    • LendingClub is still up 71% from its $15 IPO price, with bulls trumpeting the disruptive impact of P2P lending and bears questioning the company's steep multiples (previous).
    • OnDeck, whose steep small business lending rates and balance sheet risk have sparked criticism, is up a relatively modest 20% from its $20 IPO price.
    | 1 Comment
  • 11:43 AM
    • Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS) announced last summer its plans to exit commodities trading, and Reuters reports Citigroup (NYSE:C) as the buyer. For Citi, this follows its purchase of Deutsche's commodity books a few months back.
    • The commodity positions weren't part of Credit Suisse's investment bank anymore, having been moved to a non-strategic unit it uses to for those businesses to be wound down or sold.
    | 1 Comment
  • 11:23 AM
    • Geir Espeskog, a BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) managing director and head of iShares for the Nordics, has been named iShares head of distribution for Asia Pacific, effective Jan. 1. He's replacing Heather Pelant in the Hong Kong-based position as she's moving back to the U.S. to run BlackRock's U.S. wealth advisory business.
    • Jason Miller, currently based in New York and head of broker-dealer relationship management, will become head of iShares Japan, effective Jan. 1. Then there's Sean Cunningham, London-based and head of broker-dealer execution services EMEA, who will move to Hong Kong to become head of iShares Capital Markets for Asia Pacific, effective Jan. 1.
    | Comment!
  • 10:35 AM
    • The 150-room Heathman Hotel in downtown Portland was built in 1927, with $6M of investments made from 2008 to present.
    • LaSalle's (NYSE:LHO) portfolio is now up to 45 hotels totaling about 11.3K guest rooms in 14 markets.
    • Source: Press Release
    | Comment!
  • 10:03 AM
    • The 48-unit, private-pay property is in Castle Rock, Colorado. It's under an existing 15-year master lease with Senior Lifestyle Corporation with an initial cash yield of 6.5%, with rent boosts of 3% in year one and two, and 2.75% annually thereafter.
    • LTC will expand its relationship with SLC on January 1 by adding 13 assisted living communities comprising 500 units to the master lease.
    • Source: Press Release
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  • 9:49 AM
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  • 9:09 AM
    • The 601K square foot office building sold for roughly $1K per square foot, and Vornado will record a $439M financial statement gain in Q4. There's no tax bill for now though, thanks to a like-kind exchange - Vornado's (NYSE:VNO) November purchase of the St. Regis Fifth Avenue retail.
    • Source: Press Release
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  • 9:03 AM
    • Citing valuation after a nice run higher in the stock this year, particularly in the last two months, Ciitgroup downgrades Hartford (NYSE:HIG) to Hold from Buy.
    | Comment!
  • 8:41 AM
    • In line with the company's goal to spin out of non-core assets into high-growth, high-quality properties, DiamondRock (NYSE:DRH) sold the 1,004-room hotel for proceeds of about $160M, representing a 6.6% cap rate.
    • The money was rolled into the purchase of the Westin Beach Resort & Spa in Ft. Lauderdale.
    • Source: Press Release
    • Previously: DiamondRock Hospitality agrees to $149M Ft. Lauderdale purchase (Nov. 19, 2014)
    | Comment!
  • 8:30 AM
    • Prudential Real Estate Investors is Ashford Hospitality Trust's (NYSE:AHT) partner in the 28-hotel Highland Hospitality portfolio, with a 28.6% interest. Ashford's buyout for $250.1M is expected to close in Q1 and will be funded with cash on hand.
    • The purchase price represents a trailing 12-month cap rate of 6.9%, and a trailing 12.5x EBITDA multiple. On a forward basis, it represents a cap rate of 7.4% and an 11.6x multiple.
    • Source: Press Release
    | Comment!
  • 7:57 AM
    • "The fundamentals driving the success of our business remain strong and unchanged," says RCS Capital (NYSE:RCAP) CEO Michael Weil, noting no reported accounting irregularities at his company, and saying the "unfounded allegations" against Chairman Nick Schorsch shouldn't have a material impact on results.
    • Source: Press Release
    • Shares +2% premarket after yesterday's 15.4% dive.
    • Previously: Lawsuit accuses Schorsch of ordering accounting shenanigans (Dec. 18, 2014)
    | 2 Comments
  • 7:52 AM
    • The lease with Stewart information Services at Post Oak Central in Houston was set to expire in September 2016, but has been extended by three years.
    • With the deal, Cousins (NYSE:CUZ) 5.6M Houston portfolio is now 96% leased with more than six years of weighted-average lease term.
    • Source: Press Release
    | Comment!
  • 7:48 AM
    • The 331-acre strawberry farm is in Salinas, CA, and Gladstone (NASDAQ:LAND) intends to finance the purchase through its new Farmer Mac facility.
    • Chairman David Gladstone notes the deal is the company's third of more than $13M in the past four months. Gladstone continues to hope to boost its current $0.03 monthly dividend early next year.
    • Source: Press Release
    | Comment!
  • 7:23 AM
    • The roughly 55M share sale will complete Ally's (NYSE:ALLY) exit from TARP.  At last night's closing price, the stake is worth about  $1.25B. To date, Treasury has received $18.3B in proceeds from its $17.2B investment in Ally.
    • Source: Press Release
    | 1 Comment
  • 7:18 AM
    • Along with a number of investment partners, Gramercy Europe is launched - a €350M venture targeting single-tenant net leased properties and sale-leaseback deals across Europe. The partners' initial commitment is €250M, and there is a capital accordion of €100M. Gramercy's (NYSE:GPT) total commitment is €50M.
    • Gramercy also announces the purchase of ThreadGreen Europe Ltd to provide day-to-day management of the new venture. The principals of ThreadGreen are old business associates of Gramercy CEO Gordon DuGan - they ran the London office of W.P. Carey from 2004-2006.
    • DuGan: "We hope to replicate the success we have had with Gramercy Property Trust with our effort on Gramercy Europe."
    • Source: Press Release
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  • 2:21 AM
     
    • Giving banks additional time to sell stakes in hedge and private-equity funds covered by the Volcker rule, the Fed has announced that it will extend the compliance period from 2015 to 2017.
    • The Fed had previously delayed the measure for collateralized loan obligations, but has now expanded the scope of the extension for other types of funds.
    | Comment!
  • Thursday, December 18, 2014

  • 4:46 PM
    • HFF (NYSE:HF) announces it has closed the sale and arranged financing for 3000 Post oak, a 442K square-foot, Class A office building in Houston's Galleria submarket. HFF marketed the property on behalf of the seller, and its debt placement team worked with the buyer to secure financing.
    • Terms were not disclosed.
    • Press release
    | Comment!
  • 4:30 PM
    • The roughly 36K policies include an estimated 30K wind-only policies from Citizens Property Insurance Corporation - Florida's state-operated insurance company.
    • The deal boosts HCI's annualized gross premiums to an all-time high of about $430M.
    • Source: Press Release
    | 1 Comment
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