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SAN DIEGO-Burnham Pacific Properties Inc., the embattled real estate investment trust based here, has a brand-new problem on its hands.

The REIT confirmed Friday that one of its biggest preferred stockholders, Westbrook Partners, has notified the company that Westbrook is exercising its “change of control preference” right—a move that could force Burnham Pacific to stop paying common share dividends until it buys out the stockholder.

The announcement was the latest in a series of hits to the company, which has seen its stock price erode steadily in recent months. The REIT is looking for a suitor, weighing the sale of assets and considering other moves to stop the decline.

The board it already battling with a group led by Jay Schottenstein, an Ohio-based real estate investor. Schottenstein began seeking to oust the board and replace management after the board said last summer that the $13.50-a-share offer he made for the company was too low.

Burnham Pacific’s stock closed at 5 9/16 Friday, down 5/16 from the previous day and less than half its 52-week high of nearly $13 last August.

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