CUPERTINO, CA-Locally headquartered Mission West Properties Inc. says it has hired a new independent auditor to replace PricewaterhouseCoopers, which abruptly resigned the position in January without filing Mission West’s 10-K and 10-Q for 2003 and throwing into question the company’s results from prior years.The publicly traded REIT says its board of directors has signed off on the hiring of BDO Seidman LLP as the company’s new independent accountants. Mission West says it now expects to be compliant with its SEC filing obligations by late July. The American Stock Exchange has signed off on the schedule, thereby allowing Mission West to remain listed in the interim. Still, Mission West says BDO Seidman’s issuance of new audit reports and filing of the company’s past-due reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q will be dependent upon a number of factors, “including the amount of cooperation BDO Seidman, LLP receives from PwC, such as access to PwC’s work papers for prior periods.”Mission West delayed its annual report indefinitely in March, saying it was unable to retain new independent auditors while it had attorneys investigating PwC, which quit the post in late January without explanation and without completing its annual review. In a February response to Mission West’s request for an explanation, PwC said that Mission West’s financial statements for 2001 and 2002 and 2003 “should no longer be relied upon.” Mission West, which maintains a re-audit will show no material adverse adjustments, has stated that by making such statements PwC “has acted recklessly, thereby exposing the company to undetermined costs and damages,” that the audit committee of its board of directors has retained independent counsel “to investigate matters asserted by PwC subsequent to its resignation,” and that it would be “unable to retain new independent accountants until that investigation is concluded.” Mission West executives did not return phone calls seeking comment on the status of the investigation.On Feb. 2, when the resignation was announced, Mission West’s share price ended the trading day at $13.13, up $0.16 from its previous close and on its way toward $14 per share. On Feb. 20, when PwC said Mission West’s financial statements should not be trusted, the share price fell $0.65 to end the day at $13.25. In noontime trading May 11 the company’s share price stood at $11.78, up $0.28 from Monday’s close.

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