In a joint statement, Ladder Capital Corp. and Related Companies announced that Related has made a strategic investment in Ladder, a real estate investment trust. Related purchased $80 million of Ladder stock from certain pre-IPO shareholders of Ladder, including affiliates of TowerBrook Capital Partners and GI Partners. In connection with the investment, Ladder has granted Related a right of first offer with respect to certain horizontal risk retention investments in which Ladder intends to retain an interest. The investment was made by Related Real Estate Fund II, an opportunity fund, with equity commitments of over $1 billion.
Justin Metz, Managing Principal of Related Fund Management said, “Ladder’s strong and seasoned management team operates a disciplined and differentiated mortgage-focused lending platform and we believe the company is undervalued by the public marketplace. The ability to acquire a significant stake, as well as join the board, makes this investment an ideal fit for Related Fund Management and we look forward to a long-term partnership with Ladder.”
Jeff Blau, CEO of Related Companies said, “Ladder’s core earnings have been positive each quarter since their inception and they have never had a credit loss. We saw a strategic investment opportunity because we believe that the Company’s reported depreciated book value is a conservative representation of Ladder’s actual value.”
Brian Harris, Ladder’s Chief Executive Officer, commented, “We are pleased about Related’s investment in Ladder and appreciate the endorsement of our team and business model by one of the premier global real estate firms in the country. We look forward to partnering with Related and feel confident that Related’s expertise in the commercial real estate funds management business will prove helpful to our efforts in expanding Ladder’s asset management and institutional co-investment businesses.”
In conjunction with Related’s investment in Ladder, Ladder agreed to appoint Richard O’Toole, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Related, to replace Jonathan Bilzin, Managing Director of TowerBrook Capital Partners, on Ladder’s Board of Directors, effective as of closing.
Mr. Bilzin commented, “TowerBrook has enjoyed being a part of Ladder’s creation and then watching it grow.
TowerBrook continues to remain a large shareholder in the Company and we look forward to watching the team and the Company enjoy continued success.”
In joining Ladder’s Board of Directors, Mr. O’Toole brings with him over 35 years of legal, investment, and tax experience with respect to commercial real estate. Mr. O’Toole joined Related in 2005 from Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP, where he served as a Partner in the Tax Department for 5 years. Prior to Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP, Mr. O’Toole was a Partner in the Tax Department at Battle Fowler LLP for 13 years. Mr. O’Toole serves on the board of directors of Sterling Bancorp and its subsidiary bank; Equinox; Motivate, the operator of Citi Bike; and numerous subsidiaries of Related, and serves as an adjunct at Columbia University. Mr. O’Toole holds an LLM from New York University, a J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law, and a B.A. from St. John’s University.