The continuing bidding war over REIT Equity Office Properties Trust, has led another REIT, Vornado Realty Trust, to raise its bid to $41 billion in cash and stock, topping the $38.3 billion Blackstone Group LP already has on the table. The deal is set to be the largest real estate takeover ever. Vornado's offer equals $56 a share, compared with Blackstone's all-cash bid of $54. Blackstone claims its offer is better because Vornado's offer includes stock which hasn't been properly discounted for. Equity Office's directors already accepted Blackstone's offer on Jan. 25; shareholders are set to vote on Monday. Equity Office Properties Trust owns the largest collection of office properties in the U.S., with a combined 103 million square feet in 543 buildings.
Sources: N.Y. Times/Dealbook, Bloomberg, N.Y. Times
Commentary: Equity Office Properties: Sam Zell's Genius, ISS Advises Equity Office Shareholders to Accept Blackstone's Bid, Blackstone Back at the Table; Raises Equity Office Bid to $38.3 Billion, Vornado Group Outflanks Blackstone in New Bid for Equity Office REIT
Stocks/ETFs to watch: Equity Office Properties Trust (EOP), Vornado Realty Trust (VNO). Competitors: Boston Properties Inc. (BXP), Mack-Cali Realty Corp. (CLI). ETFs: iShares Cohen & Steers Realty Majors (ICF), Vanguard REIT Index ETF (VNQ), WisdomTree Dividend Top 100 (DTN), streetTRACKS DJ Wilshire REIT (RWR)
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