Washington Real Estate Investment Trust may become a takeover candidate. The trust's president, B. Franklin Kahn, disclosed yesterday at the annual meeting that WRIT officials will be meeting today with a pair of California real estate investors to talk about the "feasibility of an offer, dependent on suitable financing." Kahn declined to name the investors or give any details.
Last week saw unusual activity in WRIT's stock, which is traded on the American Stock Exchange. That Monday and Tuesday volume was between 400 and 800 shares and the price was stable. But last Friday 2,200 shares were purchased as the price jumped 2 1/8 to 34. Kahn said he does not know who bought the stock.
Although this block accounts for only one-seventh of one percent of the 1.5 million outstanding shares, stockholders yesterday approved by a substantial majority a resolution to tighten the takeover process by voting to increase the number of shareholders required to approve a merger, sale of a assets or similar transaction from a simple majority to 70 percent.
Also approved was a resolution allowing the trustees to redeem or transfer enough shares of the real estate investment trust to preserve its tax-exempt status in case a taxable sister corporation is established. Under IRS rules, a REIT can own hotels, but not manage them, for example.
Kahn assured his audience WRIT is in a good position, due to a lack of short-term debt, to weather the recession. He said WRIT's investment in two new office buildings is yielding 10 percent, almost two percentage points more than expected. One-third of the trust's holdings is now in office buildings.
Another third is in shopping centers. Kahn told stockholders that the success of A&P's Plus Discount Food store, located in one of its centers, was translating into higher percentage rents for other tenants there.