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LOS ANGELES-Maguire Properties Inc. has decided to stop looking for a buyer for the Downtown L.A.-based office REIT, deeming that market conditions are not conducive to a sale and pledging to focus on “non-sale options” to increase liquidity. As its reasons for not selling, the REIT cites “current market conditions, particularly in the credit markets, and the lack of any viable acquisition proposal received from third parties.”

Late last year Maguire appointed a special committee to look into strategic alternatives, including a sale, after pressure from investors who complained that the company was not managing itself in a way to maximize shareholder value. Chairman and CEO Rob Maguire was long rumored to be interested in selling the company anyway, but no formal offers were ever placed on the table publicly.

A statement by Maguire this morning said that the options for enhancing liquidity that the special committee will focus on will include dividend policy and management measures to “preserve and create value until the markets recover.” The special committee intends to recommend the payment of the company’s preferred stock dividend for the first quarter of 2008.

Analysts who follow Maguire said when the company went looking for buyers that the REIT’s financial performance and other factors would present big hurdles for anyone thinking of buying the company and its 35 million sf of Southern California office space. Maguire is the largest owner of class A trophy properties in Downtown L.A., including the US Bank Tower.

According to David Loeb, senior real estate research analyst and managing director for Milwaukee-based Robert W. Baird & Co., the hurdles to a Maguire sale ranged from tax implications to changes in capital markets to the uncertainties of the Orange County office market to the heavy debt load on Maguire’s portfolio. Other analysts also have cited the big debt load that Maguire’s properties carry as an obstacle to a sale, especially in today’s uncertain capital markets.

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