Grubb & Ellis to Consider Options Including a Sale or Merger

Grubb & Ellis Co. hired investment bank JMP Securities LLC to help it consider strategic alternatives including a sale or merger, the commercial real estate brokerage said today in a regulatory filing.

“We believe now is the time to explore opportunities on how to best leverage the broad platform and capabilities of the company into an improving market for the benefit of all stakeholders,” C. Michael Kojaian, chairman of the Santa Ana, California-based company, said in a statement.

Grubb & Ellis has received unsolicited inquiries and decided “a formal process is in the best interest of all of our constituents,” Kojaian said. The brokerage, with a market capitalization of $68 million, helps clients lease, buy, sell and manage commercial real estate. Its stock has fallen 23 percent this year, closing at 98 cents a share today in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

Commercial real estate transactions may climb 40 percent to $135 billion this year, Chicago-based brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. said on Feb. 2. Prices of commercial properties sold by institutional investors surged 19 percent in 2010, the second-biggest gain on record, according to an index developed by the MIT Center for Real Estate in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Grubb & Ellis, in conjunction with today’s announcement, said it won’t pay a quarterly dividend to holders of its 12 percent convertible preferred stock.

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