Zell Joins Corvex's CommonWealth Fight

Feb 12 2014 | 12:13pm ET

Hedge fund Corvex Management has added some controversial firepower to its bid to unseat the board of CommonWealth REIT.

Corvex and its partners, Related Fund Management, have been joined by private-equity billionaire Sam Zell. Zell and the co-president of his Equity Group Investments, David Helfand, have joined Corvex's board slate, and will likely serve as chairman and CEO, respectively, of the company should the proxy succeed.

The move comes just a week after Zell came to the defense of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers co-founder Thomas Perkins, who compared progressive policies to the infamous Nazi pogrom against Jewish-owned business and synagogues in 1938, Kristallnacht. Zell told Bloomberg TV that his feeling is that Perkins is "right" and that the so-called 1% "work harder."

The controversy hasn't dulled Corvex founder Keith Meister's enthusiasm.

"We are thrilled to be joined by Sam Zell, whose chairmanship of other REITs has unquestionably maximized value for shareholders," Meister and Related's Jeff Blau said.

Equity Group does not yet own any CommonWealth shares, but will have an option to buy up to 4 million if the proxy fight succeeds.

Corvex and Related are widely expected to win the ouster of the CommonWealth board. Their slate won last year, but was invalidated on technical grounds.

"We are fully supportive of Corvex and Related's efforts to maximize value at CommonWealth for all shareholders," Zell said. "We see an attractive opportunity at CommonWealth uniquely suited to our expertise in leading public real-estate companies and in turning around underperforming assets."


In Depth

Don’t Overlook These 6 Hybrid Cloud Concerns

Sep 14 2017 | 6:27pm ET

Cloud-based technology solutions have made tremendous inroads into the alternative...

Lifestyle

CFA Institute To Add Computer Science To Exam Curriculum

May 24 2017 | 9:25pm ET

Starting in 2019, financial industry executives sitting for the coveted Chartered...

Guest Contributor

Cash: An Asset In Adolescence

Aug 31 2017 | 3:34pm ET

If the investment industry has a rebellious teenager in the house today, that teenager...

 

From the current issue of