Senior Star reiterates call for Five Star to sell owned assets

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On the eve of Five Star Senior Living's fourth quarter 2015 and year-end earnings call, Senior Star Management Co. leaders issued a seven-page letter that once again outlines the “profound shift in strategy” they believe is necessary for the financial performance of Five Star to reflect its intrinsic value.

“We hope that this letter stimulates other shareholders as well, and that our voices, ideas, and concerns will collectively invoke meaningful, sustainable change,” wrote William F. Thomas and Robert D. Thomas, co-founders of the Tulsa, OK-based senior living provider, in their March 1 letter. They own approximately 3.4 million shares of Newton, MA-based Five Star Quality Care, or about 6.9% of the shares outstanding.

Five Star has underperformed in the stock market, the Thomases wrote, because of an approach to capital investment that they deem conservative. Therefore, they said, the company's owned assets have a market value of $115 million although they are worth $325 million. “The sale of these assets represents an opportunity to unlock the value of the owned assets, while providing an optimal source of capital for significant investment,” according to the letter.

The Thomases made a $325 million bid for 33 Five Star properties in December, but Five Star rejected it.

In addition to selling owned assets, the Thomases recommended that Five Star invest in its existing leased communities, employ lease de-leveraging and expand the existing unit base. Expanding its owned asset portfolio would deflect resources from Five Star's core business of 28,246 leased and managed units, they said.

Information about Five Star's March 2 earnings call is available online.

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