Equity Commonwealth announced that its board authorized the repurchase of $150M of its outstanding common shares over the next 12 months under the company's existing share repurchase program. The prior authorization will expire on March 14, 2019.
Equity Commonwealth announced it is under contract to sell 1735 Market Street, a 1.3M square foot office property, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for a gross sale price of $451.6M. Proceeds after credits for capital costs, contractual lease costs, and rent abatements are expected to be approximately $435.6M. Pursuant to the sale agreement, including the buyer's extension right, the closing is expected to occur on or before March 27, 2019, unless another date is mutually agreed by the parties. This transaction is subject to various customary closing conditions, and there is no certainty that this transaction will close. During the quarter ended December 31, 2018, the company sold 97 Newberry, a 289,000 square foot industrial property, in East Windsor, Connecticut, for a gross sale price of $7.1M.
Equity Commonwealth downgraded to Hold on valuation at Stifel. As previously reported, Stifel analyst John Guinee downgraded Equity Commonwealth to Hold from Buy, citing valuation with the stock up 5.7% year-to-date. He expects Equity Commonwealth to systematically liquidate the company, as he suspects it will have a problem finding a transaction that will play well with investors and not be perceived as value neutral or destructive, Guinee tells investors. He has a $34 price target on the shares.