Friday, March 31, 2017

Turn Out The Lights

Lightstone Capital Markets announced today, March 31, 2017, that it is terminating the offering of its hotel equity Lightstone Value Plus III and its affiliated mezzanine lending Lightstone Real Estate Income Trust.  Lightstone's letter explaining the offering terminations stated that a combination of (unspecified) factors lead to the decision to stop raising capital in its two public non-traded REITs.  It assured investors that concerns for the capital already invested was not a reason.

Lightstone has never been a capital raising powerhouse.  It was bringing in $10 million to $15 million per month combined in the two REITs on a consistent basis.  By current standards this is a respectable capital inflow, but it is by no means great.  I suspect this slow, expensive raise, was the leading factor in Lightstone's decision to close the two REITs' capital offerings.  Through February 2017, Lightstone Value Plus III had raised $124 million in equity and Lightstone Real Estate Income Trust had raised $73 million.   Let's be clear, real estate companies never stop steady capital inflows regardless of the market outlooks - unless cheaper money is available.  Any notion that Lightstone is halting capital because it cannot find attractive deals is nonsense.  

Separately, Lightstone had told broker dealers for several years that Lightstone Value Plus REIT II, the predecessor REIT to the now-closed Lightstone Value Plus REIT III, was ready for a liquidity event and that it was in advance talks with potential purchasers of the REIT.  It is my opinion that any near-term liquidity event for Lightstone Value Plus REIT II is now unlikely.  Investor capital from a liquidity event no longer has a Lightstone fund in which to reinvest and would leave to other non-Lightstone investments, which is the biggest fear of firms that receive asset management fees, and a disincentive for Lightstone Value Plus II to seek liquidity.   

No comments: