This story was updated at 9:36 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, with more information.
Shares of CBL Properties jumped Friday after an activist investor known for forcing property companies to sell assets, who earlier targeted the company, joined its board.
Michael Ashner was appointed to the CBL board's Executive Committee and he will head a new Capital Allocation Committee of the panel, according to the Chattanooga-based company.
CBL's stock climbed 11.1% on Friday, closing at $1.60 per share, up 16 cents, on the New York Stock Exchange.
CBL, a major mall operator nationally who owns Hamilton Place and Northgate malls in Chattanooga, entered into an agreement with Exeter Capital Investors, and certain of its affiliates, which own 5.97% of the company's common stock.
Ashner, who is president of Exeter, and Carolyn Tiffany have joined the CBL board, bringing the panel to nine members, the company said.
CBL Chief Executive Stephen Lebovitz said that Exeter, next to management, is one of the company's biggest shareholders.
"We are and always have been open and engaged with shareholders," he said. "This is the latest example of this."
As part of the agreement with Exeter, CBL's board established the Capital Allocation Committee comprised of three board members: Lebovitz, independent CBL director Richard Lieb, and Ashner, who will serve as committee chairman.
As an advisory panel to the full board, the committee will review the company's financial strategies, capital allocation plans and other matters related to its capital structure, according to CBL.
Ashner also joined the board's Executive Committee, which consists of Lebovitz, his father and company Chairman Charles Lebovitz, and director Kathleen Nelson.
Tiffany, meanwhile, was appointed to the board's Audit and Compensation Committees.
Under the terms of the agreement, Exeter has agreed to certain standstill and voting commitments through the 2020 annual meeting or for as long as Ashner remains on the CBL board.
Ashner said that he looks forward to working with the CBL board and management team to unlock value for all the company's shareholders.
"I invested in the common shares of CBL because I believe they are deeply undervalued and have significant potential for growth and long-term value creation for all shareholders," he said.
During a conference call Friday on the release of CBL's third quarter results, analysts asked several questions related to the agreement.
Stephen Lebovitz said the new committee is "a great mechanism for us to tap into the experience Michael had with other companies. It will bring additional focus. We view it as a positive."
He said the committee is a new means to focus on financial strategies and priorities, "which we've been doing, but we can always do more."
The Wall Street Journal reported in September that Ashner is known for working in distressed commercial property investing and for restructuring debt. Also, he has successfully lobbied real-estate owners to sell properties, the Journal said.
Ashner has over 40 years of experience owning and operating real estate companies, many of which were New York Stock Exchange listed, according to CBL. Most recently Ashner served as the chairman and CEO of Winthrop Realty Trust, a NYSE-listed real estate investment trust. Winthrop Realty Trust held a portfolio of approximately $2.4 billion of real estate and real estate related assets.
Tiffany has been active in commercial real estate investment, operations and management for over 25 years. She was a member of the board of trustees and president of Winthrop Realty Trust from 2009 until her retirement in June 2017 and currently serves as a trustee to its successor, Winthrop Realty Liquidating Trust.
Contact Mike Pare at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.