Hedge fund manager John Paulson's RERF Acquisition has apparently emerged the victor in the bidding for the Western assets of the bankrupt TOUSA. It was the only bidder.
"Paulson is essentially the winner," said Josh Sussberg of Kirkland and Ellis, a law firm representing the TOUSA debtors. The bankruptcy court judge will be asked to approve the sale on Wednesday Aug. 25, he said. "Hopefully we will close the sale in mid-September."
Paulson agreed to pay $42.4 million for 8,277 un-started lots and 22 model homes in Arizona, Colorado, and Nevada. By far the largest asset in the portfolio is Red River, a development some 15 miles beyond the outskirts of Phoenix in Pinal County.
Sussberg said there were two other entities registered to bid against Paulson, which was the "stalking horse" bidder, setting the starting bid on the land, but neither decided to make a higher offer.
Only two minor objections to the sale have been made, Sussberg said. Neither are expected to delay the sale. One, by a surety bond holder, will be quelled, said Sussberg. The other was by Jonathan Lee Richess, a prisoner incarcerated in Kentucky for fraud who has filed more than 1,000 lawsuits in federal courts, some against the famous including President George W. Bush, Martha Stewart, Brittany Spears, and NASCAR.
Paulson was an aggressive bidder on TOUSA's Florida assets in January, but lost out to Starwood Land Ventures after a prolonged bidding battle. Starwood, which was the stalking horse bidder on the Florida lots, had quietly negotiated a deal prior to the auction to sell some of the land to Lennar.
The competition from Paulson's company and another bidder for the Florida land forced Starwood to up its bid on the 5,499 home lots and 36 model homes by $20 million to win the auction. In the end, it paid $81 million.
Teresa Burney is a senior editor for BUILDER and BIG BUILDER magazines.
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