NEW YORK, Feb. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- iStar Financial Inc.
(NYSE: SFI), a leading publicly traded finance company focused on the
commercial real estate industry, today announced that the partners in the
TimberStar Southwest venture have entered into an agreement to sell the
TimberStar Southwest joint venture and its approximate 900,000 acre portfolio
of forestland and related assets for $1.71 billion, including the assumption
TimberStar Southwest is a joint venture between iStar subsidiary
TimberStar and equity investors MSD Capital, L.P., York Capital Management,
LLC and Perry Capital, LLC.
The properties, located in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, will be
purchased by an affiliate of Boston-based Hancock Timber Resource Group, a
global timberland investment management organization.
TimberStar Southwest purchased the properties from International Paper in
October 2006 for approximately $1.19 billion. Once completed, iStar is
expected to receive gross proceeds of approximately $425 million. iStar's
equity partners will receive the remaining gross proceeds from the
"We are pleased that our timber strategy has proven to be a success. As
we expected when we entered the timber business three years ago, our use of
sophisticated operational and financing strategies has created significant
value for our shareholders and equity partners," said Jay Nydick, iStar's
President. "We believe the efficiencies and value created by our TimberStar
management will be beneficial to the new owners of the properties."
"We are very pleased to reach an agreement with TimberStar on the
acquisition of these excellent and highly productive timberlands. We look
forward to managing them on behalf of our investors following the closing,"
said Hancock Timber Resource Group President Dan Christensen. "This
transaction further strengthens our ability to offer high-quality, globally
diversified timberland portfolios to our clients."
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is
expected to close in the second quarter 2008. iStar plans to discuss the sale
on its fourth quarter and year-end earnings conference call on February 28,
* * *
iStar Financial Inc. is a leading publicly traded finance company focused
on the commercial real estate industry. The Company primarily provides
custom-tailored investment capital to high-end private and corporate owners of
real estate, including senior and mezzanine real estate debt, senior and
mezzanine corporate capital, as well as corporate net lease financing and
equity. The Company, which is taxed as a real estate investment trust
("REIT"), seeks to deliver strong dividends and superior risk-adjusted returns
on equity to shareholders by providing innovative and value added financing
solutions to its customers. Additional information on iStar Financial is
available on the Company's website at http://www.istarfinancial.com.
TimberStar, based in Atlanta, Georgia, focuses on brokering and managing a
geographically diverse portfolio of timber properties. Founded by iStar
Financial and two timber industry veterans, Jerrold Barag and John F. Rasor,
TimberStar combines proven expertise in timberland investment and operations
with the significant financial resources of a multibillion-dollar, publicly
traded specialty finance company.
The Hancock Timber Resource Group, a division of Hancock Natural Resource
Group, Inc, an operating company of MFC Global Investment Management, manages
more than 3.7 million acres of timberland worth approximately $7.4 billion in
the Pacific Northwest and the Southeast United States as well as Brazil,
Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Additional information about HTRG may be
found at www.hancocktimber.com.
MFC Global Investment Management is the asset management arm of Manulife
Financial Corporation. Based in North America with investment offices in
Toronto, Boston, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, the firm has
more than 100 years of experience. Additional information about MFC Global
Investment Management may be found at www.mfcglobal.com.
Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group
serving millions of customers in 19 countries and territories worldwide.
Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia, and primarily through John
Hancock in the United States, the Company offers clients a diverse range of
financial protection products and wealth management services through its
extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Funds under
management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn $396 billion
(US $392 billion) as of December 31, 2007. Manulife Financial Corporation
trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under '0945' on the SEHK.
Manulife Financial may be found on the Internet at www.manulife.com.
SOURCE iStar Financial Inc.
Catherine D. Rice, Chief Financial Officer
Andrew G. Backman, Senior Vice President - Investor Relations
both of iStar Financial Inc.
Web site: http://www.istarfinancial.com