Never Underestimate Wily Bill Ackman
Matt Chaban Oct. 4, 2010, 1:56 p.m.
Last week, the Observer was prepared to count Bill Ackman out at Stuyvesant Town. The brash investor had lost an appeals court decision that meant he could not seize control of the massive East Side housing complex and force it into foreclosure, wiping out his and Winthrop Realty’s $45 million investment. CW Capital, which represents the senior lenders on the property, was expected to prevail in a foreclosure auction scheduled for today.
But the sale has been called off, and it looks like Mr. Ackman might carry the day after all.
The auction is now scheduled for Oct. 13 because CW Capital is said to be in negotiations with Mr. Ackman and Winthrop for their $300 million in debt. The speculation is that by buying out Mr. Ackman, CW can force the complex into bankruptcy, saving it what the Journal says is $90 million in taxes and fees or as much as $200 million, according to Crain’s.
With those kind of numbers, Mr. Ackman might go from getting wiped out to making a profit on his gambit. Not nearly what he would have made had he won the complex as a whole, which he set out to do this summer, but not a bad beat, either.