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VEREIT CEO indicates Cole Capital sale unlikely in the near term

It isstill unclear if VEREIT Inc.ultimately will pursue a sale of ColeCapital Corp., the nontraded REIT sponsor it owns, but a deal is notlikely to manifest in the near term.

The equityresearch community quizzed VEREIT's management about Cole Capital's future on aconference call a year ago, but management deferred. BMO Capital Markets' Paul Adornatoraised the question again on the company's first-quarter earnings call May 5.

"[Y]ouwanted to get the value back to where you think it should be. You've certainly madea lot of progress there, so I was wondering if you are able to indicate whetheryou like the business or perhaps are exploring selling the platform," the analystsaid.

CEO GlennRufrano's response was noncommittal, leaving the prospect of a sale open but indicatingthat a deal is unlikely in the near term.

"Well,it's not a like or dislike," the executive said. "We're business peoplewho look at assets, and we look at value. A common theme around here is that whateverasset we have, if you want to pay us a lot for it, we'll consider it."

Rufranonoted that VEREIT's management is "really pleased" with the Cole team'sefforts to-date improvingits sales productivity. The October 2014 accounting scandal that rocked AmericanRealty Capital Properties, VEREIT's previous incarnation, had compromised many ofits relationships with broker/dealers.

"Dowe believe it has got to its ultimate value? We're not sure of that," Rufranosaid. "We would like to get it performing better. So the best answer I canhave … is we're still in that period where we want to maximize the value of thatasset under all circumstances for our shareholders. We're not sure we're there yet.We think there's some room to go."