95 Columbus in Jersey City — Courtesy: Alex Arnett of Alex the Photo Guy LLC
By Joshua Burd
A prominent Jersey City office building is set to change hands after its owner, Columbia Property Trust, announced Tuesday that the company would be acquired for $3.9 billion.
The 630,000-square-foot property, 95 Columbus, is one of more than 15 properties listed on the company’s website that will seemingly move as part its pending sale to funds managed by Pacific Investment Management Co., or PIMCO. The deal will privatize the real estate investment trust, resulting from a strategic review process that it launched earlier this year.
Closing is slated for as early as year-end, subject to approval by Columbia’s shareholders and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.
“The Board of Directors is pleased to have reached this definitive agreement with PIMCO,” Constance Moore, Columbia’s board chair, said in a prepared statement. “This transaction provides Columbia shareholders with immediate and certain cash value at a significant premium to the Company’s public market valuation, and we are confident it represents the best outcome for all Columbia shareholders.”
Under the terms of the agreement, which was unanimously approved by the board, PIMCO will acquire all of outstanding shares of Columbia common stock for $19.30 per share in cash, according to a news release. Columbia shareholders will be entitled to receive the previously announced third-quarter dividend of $0.21 per share payable on Sept. 15, after which the REIT will not pay additional quarterly dividends during the pendency of the sale.
“We continue to believe that high-quality office buildings in major U.S. cities offer long-term value for our clients and Columbia has assembled a modernized, well-located portfolio of assets that we expect will perform well in the years ahead,” said John Murray, PIMCO’s global head of private commercial real estate.
Columbia, which is based in New York, recently announced an ongoing plan to renovate and modernize 95 Columbus. Meantime, the company in 2019 acquired the operating platform of the former Normandy Real Estate Partners in Morristown and an interest in three funds focused on New York, Boston and Washington, D.C., allowing it to expand its portfolio.
As part of the strategic review process announced this past spring, Columbia’s board and advisers invited nearly 90 potential counterparties to participate, including strategic acquirers, private equity firms and other investment management firms.
Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC is serving as lead financial adviser to Columbia, while Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is serving as legal adviser. Eastdil Secured LLC and J.P. Morgan are also acting as financial advisers to Columbia.
Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC is serving as lead financial adviser to PIMCO and Latham & Watkins LLP and Milbank LLP as legal advisers. Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. is also acting as a financial adviser to PIMCO, while Cushman & Wakefield is acting as its real estate consultant.