(Adds Taubman statement)
By Michael Flaherty and Ankit Ajmera
March 2 Activist hedge fund Land and Buildings
Investment Management LLC said it nominated two directors for
the board of Taubman Centers Inc, escalating its fight
against the owner of U.S. and Asian shopping centers.
Land and Buildings said its nominees are the hedge fund's
founder and CEO, Jonathan Litt, and Charles Elson, director of
the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the
University of Delaware. Elson also serves on the
board of restaurant chain Bob Evans Farms Inc.
Land and Buildings pressured Taubman last October to explore
strategic options, including a sale or a spin-off of certain
assets. The Stamford, Connecticut-based hedge fund
owned 1.1 percent of Taubman's shares as of last quarter,
Thomson Reuters data show, making it the 21st largest
Taubman, a more than $4 billion company based in Bloomfield
Hills, Michigan, has a broad portfolio of shopping centers, most
located in the United States, three in China and one in South
Korea. Its U.S. properties include the Cherry Creek shopping
center in Denver, Colorado, and the Fair Oaks mall in Fairfax,
The company's stock hit $81 per share last August but has
held steady in the $70 range since last year and was last at
Taubman, in a statement from a company spokeswoman, said it
had a qualified, independent board and that the company had
delivered a compounded annual shareholder return of around 14.5
percent over the last 20 years.
The company added that the Taubman family has an economic
ownership interest of around 30 percent and that its interests
are aligned with shareholders.
"The company is committed to engaging constructively with
shareholders, and values investors’ input and perspectives in
its drive to create sustainable value," Taubman said.
Litt's main target is Taubman's Chairman and CEO Bobby
Taubman, who has exerted too much power over the board and
management team at the expense of shareholders, the investor
Litt is a real estate focused activist, who aggressively
targets companies he deems undervalued and in need of leadership
or strategy changes. Litt's real estate targets since 2016
include FelCor Lodging Trust Inc, whose New York City
portfolio of hotels includes the Knickerbocker, Royalton and the
Morgans New York.
Litt is also pushing for rapid changes at Forest City Realty
Trust Inc, a campaign he launched earlier this year.
(Reporting by Michael Flaherty in New York and Ankit Ajmera in
Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Lisa Shumaker)