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Litt takes aim at Investors Real Estate Trust

Activist investor Jonathan Litt has set his sights on a new target:Investors Real Estate Trust.

Litt's Land &Buildings Investment Management LLC released an investor presentationApril 27 outlining "substantial downside" to the company's shares, estimatingthe downside at 35% to a $4.40 fair value "given numerous negative catalysts."Contributing to the headwinds are declining fundamentals in energy-focused marketsand "substantial" apartment overbuilding.

"IRET is saddled with an overleveraged balance sheet andhas seen a dramatic downturn in several of its markets following the collapse inoil prices," Litt said in a news release. "Apartment rents are down morethan 50 percent in some markets, significant new competitive construction is occurringand IRET has several developments still to come on line in energy-exposed NorthDakota markets. We estimate the dividend should be reduced by half andearnings estimates may need to be cut by 15 percent or more."