I just emailed the following to Marcy Syms. It is my hope that all shareholders email her and write letters to the board (in a respectful manner), encouraging them to explore all strategic alternatives for the company, rather than just taking bids for the company as a whole as was suggested in this NY Post article. It only takes a few minutes to do and can make all of the difference in the world.
Ms. Syms,As a shareholder of the company, I feel that it is important for me to express my opinion on the happenings of the company that we are both owners of. While I was thrilled that the company had retained Rothschild to explore strategic alternatives for the company, I was disappointed to read in the NY Post that bids for the sale of the company were only being taken from parties that were interested in buying the whole company. While I am not questioning your intentions and am sure that the company and board are acting in good faith, it could appear to others that this is not the case.Through my own research of property tax valuations (published a few months ago on my blog; here and here), it is obvious that a great deal of the worth of the company is in the form of real estate and not from the retail operations which perpetually lose money. Furthermore, when only taking bids for the whole company, it destroys value for shareholders, since many parties would be interested in paying top dollar of select pieces of the company's real estate... This is especially true for the Trinity Place property- it will never serve it's highest and best use as a retail store; there is no doubt that it should be sold off to a developer, demolished, and replaced with nice apartments.As so much of the value of the company consists of real estate (the tax assessment values for the owned stores FAR exceed all of the property, plant, and equipment on the balance sheet), I believe that at minimum, the board should add a member which has significant real estate experience; how can the board make an informed decision as to what alternatives to pursue, if they don't have real estate experience? Additionally, it is important that the company takes bids from interested parties in a way in which will maximize the value for shareholders; if this means that companies such as Men's Wearhouse, TJ Maxx, or Burlington Coat Factory are interested in the purchase of even a single store, then such an option should be considered.For the good of all shareholders, please consider all strategic alternatives for the company.-Jeff Moore
Disclosure: I am long SYMS.