Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: iStar Financial
So what: The company has agreed to extend the time it will take to repay $1.5 billion of debt due in 2014 and increase the interest rate it will pay by 0.75%. It will also issue $3 billion of debt at a 1.5% discount.
Now what: Commercial real estate typically lags in downturns and upturns; iStar appears to be increasing near-term interest expense in hopes it can survive long enough for a reversal of fortune. iStar's new debt is tied to LIBOR, though, so interest expense will rise even further if short-term interest rates rise. The deal avoids restructuring now but highlights the extent of this unprofitable firm's challenges and may just kick the can down the road.
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