Buffett buys 5.1% of area REIT

797,200-share stake in Town & Country Trust


April 17, 1999|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

WASHINGTON -- Billionaire investor Warren Buffett reported his third significant stake in a real estate investment trust, stating that he owns 5.1 percent of Baltimore-based Town & Country Trust.

Buffett, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., holds 797,200 common shares in Town & Country, according to a Schedule 13G filed yesterday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

In recent months, Buffett has also reported buying shares in Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc. and MGI Properties Inc. While Buffett often provides stock picks for Berkshire Hathaway, the REIT stakes have been listed solely under his own name in SEC filings.

The chief executive of Town & Country is Harvey Schulweis, who also is heading up an effort to build a Westin hotel in the Inner Harbor on the old Baltimore News-American site. The REIT's chairman is Alfred Lerner, who also is chairman of credit-card giant MBNA Corp.

Town & Country owns multifamily properties in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast states.

Company shares, which rose 31.25 cents to $15.875 yesterday, have declined about 1 percent so far this year.

Most REIT stocks have risen in recent days as Buffett's investments and management buyout bids have spurred investor optimism that a 15-month slump in the shares is ending. The Morgan Stanley REIT index rose 10.7 points, or 3.6 percent, and is up 8 percent for the week.

Pub Date: 4/17/99

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