This is a pretty ridiculous name/logo right? It's pretty clear the target market is yield hungry dividend investors who are looking "to sleep well at night".
This week, iStar filed the registration statement for a new REIT, Safety, Income & Growth Inc (SFTY), they've been kicking around quietly since last August. According to the filing, it would be the first REIT targeted at ground net leases, a structure where the company would own the land, but not the building/improvements, and enter into very long term leases (30-99 years) with the building owner. The safety part comes from the ground net lease structure, in the event of a default, despite only owning the land, the lessor can foreclose on both the land and the structure built on it. The leasee and the mortgage lender (if there is one) on the property have every incentive to make the lease payment. In effective, there's a significant overcollateralization built into the lease, the value of the lease is worth 30-45% of the combined value of the land/buildings, so often times in a foreclosure scenario a ground net lessor can make more than a full recovery.
At first I thought this was a public listing of the net lease JV iStar has setup with a sovereign wealth fund (GIC), however it appears to be a separate portfolio, but with investors in that fund participating in the SFTY IPO. Safety, Income & Growth Inc will start out life with 12 assets from iStar's net lease portfolio, all 12 are either ground leases or at least look/function similarly if you squint. The two primary assets will be One Ally Center which is the largest office building in Michigan, leased out to Ally Financial and PwC, and a portfolio of 5 Hilton branded hotels leased to the recent spinoff, Park Hotels & Resorts.
iStar will be the external manager of SFTY, it'll have one of the more unique external management agreements I've seen: 1) waiving their fee altogether for the first year, 2) no incentive fee or termination fee, 3) base management fee of 1% on equity up to $2.5B and 0.75% above, 4) the management fee will be paid in stock. Granted, there's little work in managing a lease that expires in 2114 (doesn't even look like a valid year), but it's another reason this entity should be an easy to sell to the masses.
Safety, Income & Growth is paying about a 5% cap rate for iStar's assets (combination of cash and stock), the company argues that ground net leases should trade even lower than that:
We're still waiting on an IPO date, but again, I think this has potential to do well and gather a decent amount of assets.
What does this all mean for iStar?
At year end, they had a $1.5B net lease portfolio (includes accumulated depreciation added back) that generated an NOI yield of 9.1%, in my initial post last summer I argued the net lease portfolio should be valued at 6.5% cap rate, which adds about $600MM mark-to-market above the carrying value on iStar's balance sheet. It's probably incorrect to assign a 5% cap rate to the entire portfolio, but that would produce a $1.2B mark-to-market gain, quite significant for a company with a market cap of $1B. But now iStar monetizes some assets at an attractive valuation by putting them in a simpler vehicle the market will be able to digest and assign a higher multiple to -- all while earning a (small) carry on their remaining investment going forward. It's hard to argue iStar is anything but very cheap, hopefully they use some of the proceeds to buyback stock.
Thanks to the commenter in the original iStar post for bringing this deal to my attention.
Disclosure: I own shares of STAR