Thor makes second bid for control of Empire State Building
NEW YORK (Reuters) - One of New York City's largest landlords, Thor Equities LLC, made a second offer to buy control of the iconic Empire State Building, hoping to trump a plan to roll the property into a trust, according to people involved in the negotiations.
Thor made an undisclosed all-cash offer to buy Empire State Building Associates LLC, which owns the land and has the master lease on the historic tower, according broker Jason Meister of Avison Young, representing Thor.
It also bid for the Helmsley Trust's 63.8 percent interest in Empire State Building Co LLC, the company that has the sublease on the building giving it effective control of the property until 2076. The two offers are independent of each other.
The offers, the second from Thor in less than two months, are the latest salvo in a complicated long-running battle for control of the building involving dissident shareholders and some of New York's biggest real estate owners.
The 102-storey central Manhattan skyscraper completed in 1931 has been appraised at $2.53 billion, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The skyscraper and its investors are managed by Malkin Holdings LLC, which spearheaded a plan to roll up the iconic building into a real estate investment trust, called Empire State Realty Trust Inc, containing more than 18 properties.
The sale would be an alternative to the REIT, which already has the approval of most of the investors in the building. More than 80 percent of the investors would have to approve any sale.
Thor's latest offer is significantly higher than the exchange value of $1.83 billion that it is estimated investors would receive under the trust proposal.
Meister said in a conference call with some of the buildings' 2,800 investors that the new offer would also allow them to stay in the deal.
Thor in June submitted a bid of more than $2.1 billion for both companies, joining two other potential offers in the same ballpark.
A representative from Malkin Holdings LLC, which oversees the Empire State Building's investors and operations, could not immediately confirm that it has received the offer and declined further comment.
Thor did not immediately reply to requests for comment.
(Reporting by Ilaina Jonas; Editing by Stephen Coates)