Wilshire Enterprises Explores Strategic Options

CEO says the options include a merger or sale of the company; Wilshire shares surge.Wilshire Enterprises (AMEX:WOC) of Newark said today that it has retained the broker-dealer unit of Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co. to conduct a strategic review of alternatives to maximize shareholder value. “With FBR”s able assistance, we will evaluate strategies that we hope will further increase shareholder value, possibly including a merger or the sale of the company,” said Sherry Wilzig Izak, chairman of Wilshire. The company primarily makes real estate investments in the U.S.

Separately, Wilshire sold its Galsworthy Arms Condominiums in Long Branch for $6.9 million last week, reporting an after-tax profit of some $2.8 million. Also, earlier this month, the company sold a bank branch in Rutherford for $1.6 million, and recorded a profit, net of taxes, of about $0.6 million. Wilshire shares surged 7.01%, or $0.55, to $8.40 in late morning trading.

“These divestitures are part of our previously announced strategy to rationalize our asset base through geographic concentration and quality upgrades in our core markets,” said Izak. Since 2002 the company has received $80.1 million in gross proceeds from asset sales. It also has pending sales of $12.8 million and some $29.7 million in assets listed for sale.

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