Friday, July 14, 2006


Timeshare Mogul Sunterra Considers Sale As It Seeks To Boost Value

International timeshare operator Sunterra Corp. said Thursday it will hire an investment banker to explore alternatives for the company, including a possible sale.

Sunterra, which moved its headquarters from Orlando to Las Vegas in 2002, didn't say which firm it planned to hire. The company recently retained Chanin Capital to evaluate the potential sale of its European business.

"We are interviewing different firms," Sunterra spokeswoman Marilyn Windsor said. "There are alternatives other than a sale of the timeshare company, but a sale is possible."

Windsor said the Sunterra's board thinks it is undervalued.

"We are essentially looking for ways to unlock shareholder value," Windsor said. She said no deadline has been set for a decision.

In April, Sunterra fired its accountant, Grant Thornton LLP, and launched a probe into allegations of accounting irregularities in its European division. In late June, the company board put Sunterra President and Chief Executive Officer Nicholas Benson on paid administrative leave pending the results of the investigation.

Sunterra has more than 100 timeshare resorts worldwide, including six in Central Florida. The company was founded in 1990 as Signature Resorts and changed its name to Sunterra in 1998. Just another timeshare name change.

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