Another Brookdale Senior Living shareholder is recommending that the country’s largest senior living community operator “sell its owned real estate or sell the entire company.”
Global asset manager Macquarie Investment Management, which identifies as one of Brookdale’s 10 largest shareholders, issued an open letter Friday calling for the body of shareholders to “petition its board of directors and management to take swift action to unlock the substantial value that is embedded in the company’s owned real estate.”
Macquarie said it has owned shares of Brentwood, TN-based Brookdale stock since December 2016. A spokeswoman told McKnight’s Senior Living that the company owned 3.7% of shares outstanding as of June 30.
The asset manager’s letter cited a negative 77% return from 2015, when Brookdale shares hit a high of $38.74, to the time of the letter, when share price was $8.87. “Based on our recent calculations, Brookdale stock is trading at a 50% discount to the estimated value of its real estate,” the company added.
Macquarie said the “particularly compelling” case for asset sales included Brookdale’s recent lease restructurings with real estate investment trusts, which resulted in the lifting of lease restrictions such as “change of control” covenants that previously limited the courses of action open to the company. Now, “management has far greater flexibility,” the letter stated.
“In our view, there is strong demand for senior housing assets, backed by a vibrant credit market that makes the timing right for an asset sale,” Macquarie said.
A spokeswoman for Brookdale told McKnight’s Senior Living that the company welcomes feedback from all shareholders, “but as a matter of policy do not comment on individual interactions.”
“In a short period of time, Brookdale’s leadership team has made significant business and operational improvements at the company to deliver long-term value to stockholders,” she said. “We are executing our turnaround strategy to drive operational improvements and position Brookdale for long-term success, and we will continue to carefully evaluate options for increasing shareholder value.”
Brookdale President and CEO Lucinda “Cindy” Baier, named to the post in February, said in June that the company could reduce the number of communities in its portfolio by at least 20% over the next two or three years. The company has been paring its portfolio and had 961 properties as of Sept. 30, down from 1,023 as of Dec. 31, 2017, and 1,055 as of Dec. 31, 2016, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Macquarie is not the first activist shareholder to encourage peers to advocate for change at Brookdale. In July, for instance, Land and Buildings Investment Management founder and chief investment officer Jonathan Litt advised fellow shareholders to consider “splitting up the company” along with joint ventures and outright sales. Litt made additional recommendations before and after issuing that letter.