HOUSTON, Dec. 29, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Whitestone REIT (NYSE:WSR) confirmed that KBS SOR Properties LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of KBS Strategic Opportunity REIT, Inc., a non-traded real estate investment trust, submitted a notice on December 28, 2017 of its intent to nominate three individuals for election as Class III Trustees to the Whitestone Board of Trustees (the "Board") at the Company’s 2018 Annual Meeting of Shareholders. The Company’s Class III Trustees currently consist of Mr. James Mastandrea, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Nandita Berry, the 109th Secretary of State for Texas who was appointed to the Whitestone Board in September 2017, and Mr. Jack Mahaffey, formerly the President and Chief Executive Officer of Shell Mining Company.
The Company issued the following statement:
The Whitestone Board and management team value the views of all of our shareholders, and continually review the Company’s strategic priorities and opportunities to enhance shareholder value. While we are open to and appreciate constructive feedback from our shareholders, KBS’ Trustee nominations come as a surprise to us given our outstanding financial and operating performance over the last several years resulting in Whitestone producing total shareholder returns (“TSR”) among the best in the publicly traded shopping center REIT industry. Whitestone’s TSR ranking of the publicly traded shopping center REITs, per S&P Global Market Intelligence, is #1 of 17, #2 of 16 and #4 of 15, for the 1 Year, 3 Year and 5 Year periods1, respectively. Moreover, we find it unusual that KBS has not requested to meet with our management team to learn more about our unique business model and strategy or visit our community-centered properties before stating its intent to nominate Trustee candidates.
Whitestone’s Board has recently taken significant actions to enhance its corporate governance. Whitestone’s Board is composed of seven highly qualified nominees, six of whom are independent and all of whom are actively engaged in overseeing the Company’s growth and success. With diversity and extensive financial, operational and strategic expertise, Whitestone’s Board provides significant experience and oversight to ensure the Company continues executing on its goals. To further enhance our corporate governance in 2017, we appointed three new independent trustees and adopted stock ownership guidelines for the Board and management team.
Whitestone continues to execute its strategy to acquire, own, manage, develop and redevelop “internet resistant” neighborhood shopping centers that attract and retain customers by providing daily essential services and products not readily available online. We are pleased with the progress we have made so far, and will continue to take actions to advance these objectives and to create value for all Whitestone shareholders.
The Board and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee will evaluate the nominees proposed by KBS like any Trustee candidate to assess their ability to add value on the Board for the benefit of all Whitestone shareholders. Our Board and management team remain committed to acting in the best interests of our shareholders and will continue to consider all opportunities that would enhance value. We welcome constructive dialogue with all Whitestone shareholders, including KBS, and as part of these efforts, we invite them to visit our corporate offices, meet our management team and tour our unique properties to gain understanding how we create value for our shareholders.
In addition, KBS indicated that it further intends to submit a non-binding proposal at the Annual Meeting seeking shareholder approval of a request to declassify Whitestone’s Board.
About Whitestone REIT
Whitestone is a pure-play community-centered retail REIT that acquires, owns, manages, develops and redevelops high quality “e-commerce resistant” neighborhood, community and lifestyle retail centers principally located in the largest, fastest-growing and most affluent markets in the Sunbelt. Whitestone’s optimal mix of national, regional and local tenants provides daily necessities, needed services and entertainment to the community, which are not readily available on the internet. Whitestone’s properties are primarily located in business-friendly Phoenix, Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio, which are among the fastest growing U.S. population centers with highly educated workforces, high household incomes and strong job growth. As of November 24, 2017, Whitestone's total shareholder return ranks #1 of 17, #2 of 16, and #4 of 15, of the U.S. public shopping center REITs for the one-year, three-year, and five-year periods, respectively. Visit www.whitestonereit.com for additional information