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Activist Investor Urges Proptech Firm SmartRent To Sell


Land & Buildings Investment Management, an investor in proptech firm SmartRent, wants the company to find a buyer, SeekingAlpha reports.

SmartRent shares are down 80% from 2021 highs, and the company is missing growth targets, Land & Buildings Chief Investment Officer and founder Jonathan Litt said in a letter to the company's board Tuesday urging it to consider "strategic alternatives," including a sale.

Litt projects a sale could earn shareholders a 150% premium and pointed to CoStar's announced acquisition of Matterport at a 216% premium over its last share price as an example of how shareholders could benefit.

"We are reviewing the letter and will continue our dialogue with this investor. We remain committed to acting in the best interests of all our shareholders," a representative from SmartRent told Bisnow.

SmartRent reported $51M in first-quarter revenue, down from Q4's $60.1M and a 22% decrease year-over-year. On the bright side, sales from its software as a service offerings increased 32% year-over-year and earned $11.9M in revenue.

But it isn't enough, according to Litt.

"SmartRent’s business should be thriving, not plodding along. Clearly, it is time for a new direction," he wrote. 

Shares were up 17.4% Tuesday afternoon following the letter's release. 

SmartRent provides smart home technology across multifamily, student housing and single-family. It serves 15 of 20 public multifamily operators, according to its website, and its tech is in more than 750,000 units. 

Land & Buildings owns a 3% stake in SmartRent, as well as holdings in Equinix, Prologis and Tricon Residential. It regularly acts as an activity investor. 

In March, Litt called on Equity Commonwealth, another company it had a 3% stake in, to liquidate its four office properties. Litt cited a 1% average return for shareholders over the past decade and pointed to the REIT's underperformance against its peers.