RAIT Financial Trust, a money-losing Philadelphia-based real estate investment trust (REIT) that controls office properties in Willow Grove and Cherry Hill, said it has cut a deal to sell those assets to Fortress Investment Group LLC, of New York, for $174.4 million. The offer is part of a voluntary Chapter 11 reorganization in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware and could be outbid if someone else offers more over the next 30 days.
Creditors include investors in $123 million worth of RAIT’s senior subordinated debt (priced at 7% to 8%), represented by Wells Fargo Corporate Trust in Wilmington, and investors in $25 million of junior debt, represented by Bank of New York Mellon.
RAIT was founded and run by members of the Edward and Betsy Zubrow Cohen financial-energy-real estate dynasty until Betsy Cohen stepped down as chairman in 2010 after real estate securities packaged by RAIT loans lost value in the mortgage crisis. The company, whose holdings include store sites in Raritan, N.J., and other properties in Michigan, Colorado, and Florida, was listed by the Nasdaq stock market until it was taken down last year as losses mounted.
RAIT did not file quarterly U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reports on schedule this year. Shares traded in the low $20s for most of 2011 to 2018, but have recently been available over-the-counter for just 50 cents a share. RAIT employs about 25.
In 2015, the SEC fined RAIT $21 million for keeping back fees that it failed to report to its clients.
In the bankruptcy, Epiq Corporate Restructuring is acting as claims agent, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP and Ledgewood PC are legal counsel, M-III Partners LP is the financial adviser, and UBS Securities LLC is the investment banker to RAIT and its affiliates in connection with the proposed sale and the bankruptcy proceedings.
Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP and Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP are the lawyers for Fortress.