Witkoff, Ashner renew calls for leadership change at NY REIT

The investors are candidates for company’s board

Witkoff Ashner
From left: Steve Witkoff and Michael Ashner

Activist investors Steven Witkoff and Michael Ashner lauded New York REIT’s decision not to merge with the JBG Companies, but revived calls for the trust’s management to step down.

“We are pleased that NYRT’s Board has finally woken up to what NYRT stockholders have known all along – that the combination with JBG was a poor decision and not in the interest of NYRT stockholders, said Ashner, who heads Winthrop Realty Trust and holds a stake in New York REIT jointly with Witkoff, in a statement Wednesday. “We continue to believe, however, that the current leadership is not composed of the right set of individuals needed to lead our Company through this important process.”

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On Tuesday, the struggling REIT called off a $8.4 billion merger with Washington, D.C.-based JBG. It will likely look to sell off its properties individually instead. It owns a 49 percent stake in the 1.8 million-square-foot Office Tower One Worldwide Plaza and the 750,000-square-foot office building 1440 Broadway, among other properties.

Ashner and Witkoff, who hold a stake in the REIT through the entity WW Investors LLC, offered their names as candidates for the company’s board, along with Roscommon Capital’s Gregory Hughes, attorney Neil Koenig and Wellington Management’s James Hoffmann – all on behalf of WW Investors. – Konrad Putzier