Sorry. I couldn't help but think of Howard Cosell this morning for some reason.
A GGP press release reports as follows:
General Growth Properties, Inc. (NYSE: GGP) today announced the appointment of Edmund Hoyt as the Company’s Chief Financial Officer on an interim basis. Mr. Hoyt succeeds Bernard Freibaum, who is no longer employed by the Company. The Company will promptly commence a search for a permanent chief financial officer. I think we all know what "no longer employed by the Company" means. If you own the stock (and, for full disclosure purposes, I may in some fund or in another indirect way) kiss your dividend good-bye. And that makes sense right now.
In an attempt to calm down the market after yesterday, the release also tell us:
All continuing executive officers of the Company have informed the Company that they have repaid in full all previously existing margin loans and thus there will be no further sales of Company stock by those executive officers to satisfy margin calls. In addition, the Bucksbaum family interests have informed the Company that they have not sold any shares of Company stock and that they do not intend to sell any of their shares of Company stock. The Company has been informed by Mr. Freibaum that on October 2, 2008, he sold approximately 2.95 million shares of common stock to satisfy margin calls and applied all of the proceeds to repay outstanding margin debts. After those sales, Mr. Freibaum has informed the Company that he beneficially owns approximately 1.3 million shares of stock and has approximately $3.4 million of margin debt outstanding.Ow. In other words, get the house in order. The decline in GGP's share price yesterday cost the Bucksbaum family how much? Finally, we see this good news bad news hit in the last paragraph:
The Company continues to be current on all of its debt obligations and is continuing its full financial and strategic review with its advisors.So all options are on the table. Keep an eye. Reports at Crain's, ugly but astute analysis at Bloomberg, and a piece at Retail Traffic, which notes that GGP stock gapped up at the open on the news. I sadly didn't see anything at the Tribune or the Sun-Times.