Archstone to go public

After being fully taken over by Lehman Brothers Holdings, the Denver-based apartment REIT has filed plans for an IPO of up to $100 million.

In the wake of Lehman Brothers Holdings winning full control of Archstone following a long and contentious battle with Equity Residential, the former Wall Street banking giant is looking to take its prize public. 

The Denver-based apartment REIT has filed plans with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for an initial public offering of up to $100 million in common stock. Proceeds from the IPO will be used to pay down debt, which analysts estimate at more than $9 billion of Archstone’s $17 billion to $19 billion value. That valuation is based on the REIT’s ownership or interests in 181 multifamily properties comprising 59,419 units across the US. 

Once public, the apartment giant intends to apply for the listing of its common stock on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ASN, according to the filing. A spokeswoman for Lehman declined to comment. 

Lehman, which emerged from bankruptcy protection in March, purchased the remaining shares of Archstone from minority co-owners Bank of America and Barclays for $1.58 billion in May. Once that happened, Owen Thomas, chairman of Lehman's board of directors, said in a statement: “With full ownership of Archstone, we will now be able to move forward and pursue monetisation opportunities for the company.”

The battle between Equity Residential and Lehman over ownership of Archstone followed the failure of Lehman, Bank of America and Barclays to agree over what to do with the troubled REIT. In June 2011, the three firms could not decide whether to sell their stakes via an IPO, sell the company outright or infuse some fresh capital into the platform. Following this communication breakdown, Bank of America and Barclays chose to sell their shares to the highest bidder.