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US REIT BRE latest acquisition target by property landlords - sources

(Credit: BRE Properties Inc) This is the corporate logo of California real estate investment trust BRE Properties Inc.BRE Properties Inc
December 6
2:30 PM 2013

According to two sources who were familiar with the matter, California real estate investment trust BRE Properties Inc is the latest target of property landlords in a USD22 billion apartment spending spree. Bloomberg said in a report that aside from BRE, Home Properties Inc and Post Properties Inc could be up next for acquisition.

This week, Essex Property Trust Inc offered to acquire BRE for USD5 billion, which was more than the rejected bid from Land & Buildings, the two sources said. According to data compiled by Bloomberg, a deal for BRE could follow other US acquisitions amounting to USD22 billion that will be completed by apartment REITs this year so far.

Despite increase in rental and occupancy rates, the Bloomberg Apartment REIT Index lost about 7% in 2013. Because of the share drop, it created opportunities for potential buyers to seek high-quality assets like the San Francisco Bay properties BRE owned. Prior to Essex's disclosure about its bid for the REIT, BRE's shares traded at a 13% loss of its net asset value, said Sentry Investments. Bloomberg Industries analyst Jeffrey Langbaum deduced that gains in stocks this week showed why Home Properties and Post Properties could be offered bids next.

Langbaum, who is also a REIT analyst, said over the phone, "It's very hard to grow in size by doing one-off property acquisitions and one-off property developments. If you want to grow in earnest, a big portfolio is one way to do that. You've had companies taking advantage of those opportunities."

In July, San Francisco-based BRE rejected a consortium of bidders' offer of USD4.6 billion. Land & Buildings, an investment firm focused on real estate securities, was one of the members of the consortium. Essex also approached BRE at the beginning of this year but was rebuffed as well, said the two sources who refused to be identified as the matter was not public knowledge.

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