On The Block

Maguire Properties Inc. (NYSE: MPG) continues to scope the landscape as it reviews strategic alternatives. The Los Angeles-based REIT is mulling the possible sale of the company, among other options. The company’s board, acting on the recommendation of a special board committee, has decided to delay the company’s annual meeting. Maguire Properties, which owns and operates Class A office properties in the Los Angeles central business district, said there is no guarantee that the review process would lead to any transaction.

ArthroCare Corp. (Nasdaq: ARTC) has started to evaluate financial and strategic alternatives. The developer of minimally invasive surgical products has decided to consider options on how to strengthen its ailing stock price. The Austin, Texas-based company’s board believes the current price does not reflect the fundamental value of the business. ArthroCare has hired Goldman Sachs to assist it in the evaluation process. Strategic options include a recapitalization, a stock repurchase, a sale or disposition of one or more corporate assets or a strategic business combination.

Its stock reeling, W.P. Stewart & Co. (NYSE: WPL) is reviewing strategic alternatives. The Bermuda-based asset management company, which suspended its dividend in October, is in negotiations with several parties, and the company also decided to postpone the release of its 2007 earnings. As with the fortunes of other financial firms since summer 2007, W.P. Stewart’s shares have been battered in the last six months, plunging to below $1.50 per share, down from a 52-week high of more than $15 per share achieved in July. Merrill Lynch & Co. is serving as a financial adviser.

Problems are mounting for Fremont General Corp. (NYSE: FMT), which has received a covenant default on $3.15 billion in subprime mortgages it sold in 2007. The financial holding company is working with Credit Suisse Securities LLC and Sandler O’Neill & Partners LP to explore strategic alternatives. The initiatives under review include raising capital, restructuring of senior debt and preferred securities, and the possible sale of the company. The Brea, Calif.-based company, which has said it may need to record additional asset write-downs and reserves, plans to defer indefinitely its regularly scheduled quarterly interest payments on its 9 percent junior subordinated debt to preserve cash.