Funds News

Lehman proposes converting Archstone debt to equity

NEW YORK, May 7 (Reuters) - Lehman Brothers asked a U.S. bankruptcy court to approve restructuring the debt of real estate investment trust Archstone-Smith Trust so it can stabilize the REIT’s balance sheet, according to documents filed on Thursday.

Lehman owns 47 percent of Archstone, with Barclays BARC.L and Bank of America BAC.N owning another 47 percent, it said.

Lehman said it is still seeking approval from its partners to convert $5.2 billion of the financing related to the $22 billion leveraged buyout of the REIT in 2007 to classes of new preferred equity interests.

It also wants to convert financing to a new revolving credit facility with a later maturity date and to extend the maturity on parts of the financing that are not converted to equity.

The move aims to minimize the need for more capital and preserve Lehman’s investment, the company said in the bankruptcy filing.

Lehman’s examiner cited Archstone as among a handful of real estate deals at the top of the market that made the size of Lehman’s real estate balance sheet too large.

The case is in Re: Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc et al, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 08-13555. (Reporting by Caroline Humer, editing by Dave Zimmerman)