Investors in Phillips Edison & Company, Inc. (“PECO”) may have FINRA arbitration claims, if their investment was recommended by a financial advisor who lacked a reasonable basis for the recommendation, or if the nature of the investment was misrepresented by the stockbroker or advisor.
PECO, an internally managed real estate investment trust focused on grocery-anchored shopping centers, recently released the preliminary results of its tender offer to purchase up to 17.4 million shares of common stock from public shareholders at a price of $5.75 per share. Shareholders reportedly tendered approximately 13.5 million shares, and PECO reportedly expects to purchase 100 percent of the tendered shares for approximately $77.7 million beginning on or about January 7, 2021.
PECO also has announced a one-for-four reverse stock split, which reportedly is expected to take place around March 9, 2021, and as a result, every four shares of issued and outstanding common stock will be automatically combined and converted into one share of common stock. A corresponding reverse split of the outstanding OP units will also be effective at that time.
After the reverse split, PECO’s common stock will have an initial sponsor’s estimated net asset value (NAV) per share of $35.00.
PECO was formed in Maryland in October 2009 as a non-traded real estate investment trust (or “REIT”), to acquire grocery-anchored shopping centers. In November 2018, PECO officially merged with Phillips Edison Grocery Center REIT II (“Phillips Edison II).
Investors who purchased shares in PECO at the initial offering acquired shares at $10.00 per share, and while PECO’s sponsor has said that it currently has an estimated net asset value (“NAV”) of $8.75 per share, shares on the limited private secondary market have reportedly traded for less than $6.00 per share in recent months. Of course, as noted above, PECO has also announced the repurchase of its own shares from shareholders pursuant to a tender offer for $5.75 a share.
Although management estimates PECO shares as having an estimated NAV of $8.75 a share, financial analysts frequently assume that non-traded investments such as PECO will trade at a discount to NAV if listed on a securities exchange. In a prominent example of this phenomenon, a large non-traded REIT known as American Finance Trust or AFIN that listed its shares in 2018 had published an estimated NAV of $23.56 a share, yet shares later traded for as little as $10.08 after AFIN was listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. AFIN shares have subsequently traded at prices below $10.00 a share during 2020.
As a publicly registered non-traded REITs, PECO and Phillips Edison II were permitted to sell securities to the investing public at large, including unsophisticated retail investors who bought shares upon the recommendation of a broker or money manager.
Non-traded REITs pose many risks that are often not readily apparent to retail investors, or adequately explained by the financial advisors and stockbrokers who recommend these complex investments. One significant risk associated with non-traded REITs has to do with their high up-front commissions, typically between 7-10%. In addition to high commissions, non-traded REITs like PECO generally charge investors for certain due diligence and administrative fees, ranging anywhere from 1-3%.
Furthermore, non-traded REITs are generally illiquid investments. Unlike traditional stocks and mutual funds, non-traded REITs do not trade on a national securities exchange. Many uninitiated investors in non-traded REITs have come to learn too late that their ability to exit their investment position is limited.
Investors who wish to discuss a possible claim may contact a securities arbitration lawyer at Law Office of Christopher J. Gray, P.C. at (866) 966-9598 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a no-cost, confidential consultation. Attorneys at the firm are admitted in New York, Wisconsin and various federal courts around the country, and handle cases nationwide (in cooperation with attorneys located in those states if required by applicable rules).
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