Fisher Plaza sold for $160 million


It took a while to get the deal done, but Fisher Communications has found a buyer for its Fisher Plaza headquarters in Seattle – and at a strong price. Hines Global REIT has agreed to buy the 300,000 square foot mixed-use facility for $160 million.

Under pressure from dissident shareholders, the board of directors at Fisher Communications put the building up for sale in March of this year. Fisher Plaza had been put on the market in 2008, but was withdrawn as the recession took hold and real estate prices plunged.

RBR-TVBR reported that Fisher’s 10-K annual filing with the SEC for 2010 listed the value of Fisher Plaza at $108.3 million. According to the Seattle Times an appraisal when the building was put up for sale this year put the value at $142 million. So the final price tag of $160 million has to be welcome news for Fisher shareholders.

“Over the past several years, we have strategically repositioned Fisher for the opportunities we see as a leading local media company. Fisher Plaza has been an asset that is not a central component of our business model and executing this transaction provides added flexibility in our effort to create additional value for our shareholders,” said Fisher Communications CEO Colleen Brown.

“This is an extremely well-constructed and located asset with a unique mix of uses in downtown Seattle. We are happy to have the opportunity to invest in the highest quality multi-tenanted data center in the region, with outstanding access to telecommunication providers,” said Hines Vice President Ty Bennion. “We are especially pleased to be starting a long-term relationship with the leading broadcast media company in the Pacific Northwest.”

Indeed, Fisher Communications will continue to occupy about 40% of the building as a tenant, rather than the owner. The company plans to use proceeds from the sale to redeem its outstanding 8 5/8% senior notes.

Houston-based Hines Global REIT raised $3.5 billion in a 2009 IPO. It currently owns interests in 10 commercial properties.

RBR-TVBR observation: We were certainly correct in our analysis that the $315 million offer in January by Huntingdon REIT for all of Fisher Communications seriously undervalued the company. If you subtract the $160 million for Fisher Plaza and the $27 million in cash that Fisher was holding at the end of Q3 that would leave only $128 million for all of the radio and TV assets. Our analysis found they were worth more than double that.