one last comment. The special dividend should be irrelevant. People who hold this stock for the special should understand that when paid, it will reduce the value by that much. It should really be a neutral.
The real issue is what the market would do to this stock if the REIT strategy is abandoned. Would current shareholders bail? Would future shareholders not be found? Would Wall Street conclude the company really is a disaster?
My theory is that the big owners of this stock (other than maybe HSBC) would just as soon get rid of the REIT and the vulnerability to unappreciative public capital markets, and that a de-REITing is already factored into the price.