In Public Spat, Aimco And Activist Investor Dispute Future Of Its Board
A publicly traded REIT headquartered in Denver and an activist investor renewed their public tussle about the future of the company's leadership ahead of its stockholder meeting next month.
When the Apartment Investment and Management Co., or Aimco — which operates over $3B in assets across eight markets, including in Colorado — hosts its annual stockholder meeting on Dec. 16, investors will vote on nominations to its 10-person board of directors.
In a normal year, it might be a straightforward occasion. But Land & Buildings Investment Management, a real estate-focused hedge fund based in Stamford, Connecticut, that owns a 5.8% stake in Aimco, has put forth two of its own nominations. It is at least the fourth time this year Land & Buildings has used its leverage to pressure stockholders into making a change in a company, according to GlobeSt.
The drama played out in a sequence of dueling press releases in the last week. On Nov. 21, Land & Buildings issued a lengthy statement claiming that Aimco has demonstrated a “troubling track record of apparent disregard for shareholders,” “underperformed for years” and “maintained archaic corporate governance practices,” among other complaints.
“The incumbent Board utterly lacks credibility and cannot be relied upon to represent shareholders’ best interests,” Land & Buildings founder and Chief Investment Officer Jonathan Litt said in the release. “We believe that Board change — with the addition of directors who shareholders can trust — is essential for the Company to succeed at this critical time.”
For its part, Aimco argued in a Nov. 21 release that “the claims made by Land & Buildings are largely baseless” and outdated, claiming that the criticisms pertain to a version of the company that no longer exists. Since spinning off the Apartment Income REIT Corp. in December 2020, the firm claims it has tripled its investment pipeline and delivered consistent stockholder value.
Aimco also stressed that Land & Buildings’ nominees have never served on the boards of publicly traded REITs, insisting their experience would not “be additive.” Then, in a release published Nov. 28, Aimco announced a further expansion of its corporate governance policies.
This is not the first time that Litt has attempted to influence the future of the REIT. In August, he was reportedly working to broker a sale of the company, according to Bloomberg reporting at the time.
According to its website, Aimco’s Colorado portfolio includes Parc Mosaic, a 225-unit apartment residence in Boulder; The Fremont, a 253-unit development in Aurora; and Aurora’s Benson Hotel & Faculty Club, a hotel still in development.