The Real Deal New York

As Barclays Center auction looms, Forest City shareholders concerned about Ratner’s role

Board members looked to hire more executives outside of family of owners
November 04, 2014 12:45PM

As Forest City Enterprises gears up to sell part of or all of its 55 percent stake in the Barclays Center through an auction, shareholders are concerned that the firm’s executive chairman Bruce Ratner will still wield too much control. Regardless of whether the firm finds a partner to acquire a minority stake, Ratner said he and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormack will manage the venue on a day-to-day basis. Meanwhile, the board has sold non-core assets and sought to hire more executives outside of the Ratner family. “As Bruce tries to find support [to stay in charge of the arena] there might be board members who say, ‘Stop it,’” a shareholder told the New York Post. Another source said, “What drives me crazy is Bruce always gets quoted like he’s CEO but he’s not.”

A spokesperson for Forest City said that the “market will determine how [the sale process] ends,” adding that the company is exploring all options. Forest City is seeking a $1 billion valuation on the Barclays Center, which cost about $900 million to build. If the developer sold its entire stake in the arena, it would be easier for the developer to convert into a real estate investment trust.

Ratner stepped down as CEO of Forest City Ratner last year, making room for MaryAnne Gilmartin. [NYP]Mark Maurer