Saturday, January 9, 2010

BlackRock's Black Mark: Stuyvesant Town

Twenty thousand New York apartment dwellers are in limbo as complex owners, BlackRock Realty and Tishman Speyer Properties, defaulted on their loan. Efforts to renegotiate $3 billion in debt have been unsuccessful to date. They anticipated missing a $16 million loan payment on Friday.

Is this the same BlackRock advising the U.S. Treasury on complex mortgage backed securities? They have a web page devoted to real estate. It says:

BlackRock believes that successful real estate investing is a result of establishing a strategic advantage in portfolio exposures to property sectors and markets, and in the speed and quality of executing those exposures. This focus on strategy and execution is the cornerstone of BlackRock's investment philosophy. BlackRock's real estate investment strategy is guided by its proprietary research tools and the combined knowledge, experience and market expertise of its senior investment professionals.

However, BlackRock believes knowledge of a superior mix of sectors and markets is an advantage only if the portfolio can move to establish exposure in those sectors and markets quickly. The firm is therefore organized for maximum opportunity flow. The firm expands its acquisition flow by teaming its skilled transaction team with the experience and relationships of its portfolio and asset management teams to source investments and investment partners.

Except in the case of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. The partnership may be an equal opportunity shafter. DealBook reports:

Aside from the $3 billion in mortgages, there is an additional $1.4 billion in secondary, or mezzanine, loans and almost $1 billion in equity invested by the partners, a Florida pension fund, the Church of England and others.

Weren't financial CEO's crashing Church of England pulpits to proclaim their doing God's work? How does losing money for the Church square with that assertion?

Also in the mix are the government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which together hold a bond that is secured by as much as $2 billion of debt on the property. Those two companies will get paid first with whatever revenue comes from the property, but they are not involved in the negotiations.

BlackRock and Tishman Speyer may hand the keys over to the Mac siblings, Fannie & Freddie. Funny, BlackRock was hired to evaluate Fannie and Freddie. How much will they charge Uncle Sam to analyze the impact of their default?

BlackRock advises the junk Bear Stearns investments held in Maiden Lane. Does the Fed hold any securities impacted by the default? What BlackRock can do for the U.S. taxpayer, given its abandonment of New York apartment residents, remains to be seen.

Update: GAO sees risk from potential CMBS failures to TARP & TALF programs

Update 2: BlackRock purchased over 39 million shares of WellPoint on 12-31-09. They spent $2.3 billion for 8.5% of the company. Over a week later BlackRock defaulted on Stuyvesant Town. BlackRock is a prime contractor for several Treasury rescue programs. How much taxpayer money went into the WellPoint stock purchase? WellPoint/Anthem raised premiums on individual policies up to 39% in several states.
Is that to generate profits for their new shareholder?

Update 3:
Losses on the Stuy Town loan look set to wipe out junior noteholders in related CMBS. (Structured Credit Investor)

Update 4: BlackRock purchased over 20 million shares (7.5%) of Simon Property on 12-31-09. That cost BlackRock $1.6 billion. NYT's
Dealbook failed to mention any of the above information.

Update 5: The Federal Reserve Bank of New York provided $100 million to Tishman Speyer to restructure loans on Chicago properties. Jerry Speyer sits on the NYFed board.

Update 6: BlackRock has a lobbyist in D.C., firm founder Barbara Novick.