New U-T Owners Borrowing against Real Estate
Platinum Equity, the new owners of the Union-Tribune, appear to be borrowing against the properties that they got for below-market prices as an inducement to take the paper this spring. On July 14, PNC Bank, as "agent for itself and other lenders," recorded a trust deed against three properties that Platinum got as part of the deal: the headquarters at 350 Camino de la Reina, Mission Valley; 5258-60 Anna Ave., and 5130 Avenida Encinas in Carlsbad. The deal was set up to secure a loan and revolving credit facility made to S.D. Union-Tribune, LLC, the takeover entity. No amounts were specified, according to the Reader's Matt Potter, who found the filing.
"It sounds like the old buy and breakup of the '70s -- the sum of the parts being worth more than the whole," says retired San Diego banker Peter Q. Davis. It also may be a case of shrewd timing. "I'm guessing these guys also figure interest rates are low, and not going any lower, with a good chance of soaring as the excess liquidity being created by government creates inflation." People who have watched the deal for the U-T have assumed all along that Platinum would try to flip the real estate that it got so cheaply, possibly including the headquarters, which it got for merely $35.5 million when the assessed valuation was $91.3 million. It is now trying to lease out the two top floors of the Mission Valley building. It may be awhile before it is able to vacate it, but there are rumors that it is looking for an outside company to print the paper.
More like this:
- Mortgage disinterest — Nov. 14, 2012
- Union-Tribune Headquarters Sale Valued at $42.5 Million — Dec. 9, 2011
- Yes, Manchester IS Looking at U-T — Nov. 7, 2011
- U-T Owner Takes Loss on Industrial Building — Jan. 8, 2010
- Tracking the Takeover: Union-Tribune layoffs on schedule — May 7, 2009