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IPO activity hasn't been as fast and furious as the industry expected. What gives? REIT experts say it's because going public just 'cause all the cool kids are doing it doesn't make for a solid business plan. (It's also not a good reason to go swimming in the quarry, kids.)
Don Wood, Mike Kirby, Debra Cafaro, Guy Metcalfe, and Robert Taubman at The Pierre, NYC, on April 19, 2012
At Thursday's NYU Schack REIT Symposium at The Pierre hotel, we snapped Federal Realty Investment Trust CEO Don Wood, Green Street Advisors' Mike Kirby, Ventas CEO Debra Cafaro, Morgan Stanley co-head of investment banking Guy Metcalfe, and Taubman Centers CEO Robert Taubman. Don says any given REIT needs to have a reason to exist. (REITs are not, by nature, nihilistic business models.) A private owner that has accumulated $2B in average real estate and wants to go public, for instance, would have to compete with existing REIT portfolios that have greater growth prospects.And there just aren't that many high-quality firms to go public, Mike says. Debra agrees, saying, "Maybe this is how IPOs are supposed to work, "screening out firms that don't need to exist." She adds that a better option for a lot of private owners is selling to existing REITs.

Jimmy Kuhn at The Pierre, NYC, on April 19, 2012
Time for new business cards! We also snapped Jimmy Kuhn, whose title just changed from president of Newmark Knight Frank to president of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank. That company name is just a mouthful, so Bisnow is now taking suggestions for the firm's "better known as" nickname. Tell us what you think!