The Real Deal National

Activist Investor Jonathan Litt is threatening another proxy fight at Taubman Centers

Litt told the company he planned to nominate directors next year unless the company makes “meaningful progress”
June 11, 2019 03:25PM

Land & Buildings Investment Mangement founder Jonathan Litt

Land & Buildings Investment Mangement founder Jonathan Litt

As the so-called “retail apocalypse” takes hold, shopping center owners are being forced to innovate. But for Jonathan Litt, he just wants them to do better.

In a letter sent to Taubman Centers, the activist investor demanded “meaningful progress” from the shopping center owner’s board unless they want a proxy fight at the 2020 board nominations, according to Bloomberg.

It would be the third time that Litt has started a proxy fight at the company, after losing a bid for a board seat in 2017, which was followed by a successful bid in 2018. As a board member, Litt reportedly said he became aware of the value of Taubman’s assets, which include Mall at Short Hills in New Jersey and the Mall at Millenia in Orlando, Florida. He also said the company should withdraw from its interests in Asia.

Litt’s Land & Buildings Investment Management holds a 1.8 percent stake in the company, the outlet reported. Michigan-based Taubman, which is valued at close to $2.6 billion, has recorded a 25 percent drop in the price of its shares, prompted by a trend of investors moving from the retail sector.

But Taubman Centers has remained defiant in the declining industry and, last year, completed the $500 million renovation of its eight-story mall Beverly Center in Los Angeles.

Litt has also taken the same aim at other retail conglomerates. Last July, Litt demanded Hudson’s Bay Company offload its real estate assets, in line with a strategy employed by Macy’s. [Bloomberg] — David Jeans