Maguire to sell Orange County office property

NEW YORK Wed Jul 9, 2008 3:37am IST

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Maguire Properties Inc MPG.N has agreed to sell a Southern California office property to Shorenstein Properties LLC for about $211 million, including the assumption of debt, to shore up Maguire's balance sheet.

The sale of Main Plaza includes a $10 million cash reserve, lowering the price for the real estate to $201 million, or about $331 per square foot. The price also includes the assumption of $161 million in debt for the property, the companies said on Tuesday.

Shorenstein acquired Main Plaza for its ninth fund, Shorenstein Realty Investors Nine LP, a $2.062 billion commingled fund formed in the spring of 2007.

The sale is expected to close in the third quarter.

Maguire said the deal is part of efforts to bolster its balance sheet. Its debt ballooned after the company paid $2.88 billion for 24 properties from Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) in May 2007. The failure of mortgage broker tenants has helped soften the real estate market in Southern California and lowered the value of Maguire's properties.

Main Plaza, which was part of the deal with Blackstone, is located in the heart of the Airport Area of Irvine in Orange County. It includes two 12-story office buildings and two free-standing smaller buildings totaling about 607,000 square feet.

"This transaction demonstrates our commitment to our stated objective of disposing of certain Orange County properties to accomplish our balance sheet objectives," Nelson Rising, president and chief executive, said in a statement.

On Monday, two of Maguire's biggest investors, hedge funds JMB Capital Partners and Third Point LLC, challenged the board's decision last month to reject a buyout bid from Pacific Office Properties.

JMB said it planned to put up a slate of candidates that would comprise at least a majority to the board.

Shares of Maguire closed 1.8 percent lower on Tuesday to $12.37.

(Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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