In February Chicago-based REIT Equity Residential got an extension in pursuit of a piece of Denver-based Archstone that’s owned by Barclay’s and Bank of America. EQR’s deadline is tomorrow (April 19), but so far nothing is out on the web.
That doesn’t mean there any projections. New York–based investment banking firm Sandler O’Neill + Partners put out a note saying that it thinks EQR is under no pressure to put in a bid tomorrow. Without a deal that would give EQR possession of Archstone assets, Sandler thinks EQR will be given another extension. Lehman has a right of first offer (ROFO) on any EQR bid.
Sandler has been a long-time fan of EQR’s bid, which, at worst would score it an $80 million break-up fee for its troubles or a few assets. Sandler believes a certain discussion point for Lehman and Archstone is figuring out what assets will entice EQR but won’t hinder a widely expected IPO.
“Ultimately, we believe EQR and Lehman/Archstone strike a deal whereby EQR gets a few assets and Lehman can ROFO at a price that doesn't get too expensive,” Sandler says in the report.
Right now, this is all speculation though. Until reports start to filter out of Chicago and new York, no one knows how this long-running saga will end.