Carl Icahn, owner of more than 14% of WCI Communities’ stock, may be looking to double-down on his investment in the company that could be teetering on the precipice of filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The billionaire financier filed an SEC report on Friday announcing he is talking with a “special committee” formed last week and its advisors to look into restructuring the company.
“Such discussions may ultimately lead to reporting persons (Icahn) entering into a transaction with the issuer (WCI),” the filing said.
The Bonita Springs, Fla.-based builder, plagued by cancellations of its high-rise condominiums as well as its single-family homes, lost more than $578 million last year. Included in that loss was the write-down for all the company’s goodwill, except for that in its real estate subsidiary.
Its income prospects look bleak for 2008 since the company hasn’t started any new towers in over a year. The company’s dwindling cash presents a problem that may prove to be its denouement if it isn’t rescued by either a white or dark knight in the near future. WCI has $125 million in convertible notes with an Aug. 4 put date that it might not be able to pay.
“We are in discussion with our convert holders about extending the put date… given the fact that our cash position is not likely to allow the payment of those converts when they, and if they, are put to us in August,” said CEO Jerry Starkey during a March conference call.
WCI has been negotiating with its note holders, but there is no word whether that is likely to be successful.
Worries about the company being able to pay off those puts caused the company's accountant, Ernst & Young, to put a going concern qualifying note in the company's 10-K, which triggers default under the company's three senior bank loans. "We have received waivers from all three creditors as of now," said CFO Ernest Scheidermann at the time.