(Bloomberg News) Empire State Realty Trust Inc., the company that controls the Empire State Building, was sued by an investor over its plan to become a real estate investment trust and sell shares on the New York Stock Exchange.
The company said on Feb. 13 that it plans to raise as much as $1 billion in an initial public offering, giving investors the opportunity to own a piece of the landmark 102-story Manhattan skyscraper. A group of closely held companies will be consolidated to form the REIT as part of the IPO, according to regulatory filings.
An investor, Leon Meyers, sued in New York State Supreme Court today, accusing Empire State Realty Trust and Malkin Holdings LLC, supervisor of the company that holds the title to the tower, of breaches of fiduciary duties.
"Defendants seek to consummate this proposed transaction through self-interested consent solicitations that fail to provide the participants with material information sufficient to allow them to make informed decisions regarding whether to support the planned transaction," according to the complaint says. "Further, the Malkin defendants failed to consider reasonable alternatives to the proposed transaction, which were potentially more beneficial to the participants but less likely to be economically beneficial to the defendants."
Meyers seeks unspecified compensation for losses and damages, as well as a declaration that the transaction is "unfair, unjust and inequitable" to the plaintiff and other investors. He asked a judge to stop the defendants from taking any steps necessary to complete the transaction "via a process that is not fair and equitable."
Malkin Holdings supervises property partnerships led by Peter Malkin and his son Anthony Malkin. It owns the 2.9 million-square-foot (269,000-square-meter) Empire State Building in conjunction with the estate of Leona Helmsley. A phone message left at their headquarters seeking comment on the lawsuit wasn't immediately returned.
The case is Meyers v. Empire State Realty Trust Inc., 650607/2012, New York State Supreme Court (Manhattan).