Speaking of Daum-Johnstown, its troubled parent--Dallas real estate investor Southmark Corp.--is in the news again.
The company still owes a whopping $2 billion after going on a spending spree in recent years.
Many company watchers suspect that Southmark may soon start selling some of its jewels, like J.M. Peters Co. Inc.--the immensely profitable Newport Beach home builder of which Southmark is majority owner--and perhaps even less stellar performers such as Los Angeles-based Daum-Johnstown.
Or Southmark itself could be acquired. Southmark says that it has had inquiries from "many organizations," some of them--the company suspects--looking for fire-sale prices.
A spokesman for Peters says the home-building company still hasn't been told what its fate will be. A small chunk of Peters is already traded publicly, and Southmark put the rest on the block last year, but a deal with Denver's MDC Holdings Inc. fell through.
Arthur G. Weiss, the new Southmark chairman, said in a letter to shareholders Thursday that he had begun reviewing the company's tattered financial condition and that any decision on the sale "must await the completion of the examination."
But it apparently was rumors of a sale at Daum-Johnstown last fall that helped push the 50 or so employees in Orange County to defect en masse to Scher-Voit.