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Regency to House 429 Properties with $5B Equity One Buyout

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Retail REIT, Regency Centers Corporation (REG - Free Report) has agreed to acquire Equity One, Inc. for around $5 billion. The move would create a national portfolio of 429 properties, mainly grocery-anchored, covering over 57 million square feet, including co-investment partnerships.

Moreover, with a total market capitalization of $15.6 billion, the combined entity is set to become the largest REIT by equity value in the shopping center index. The deal is subject to approval of both Regency and Equity One shareholders and other customary closing norms. The transaction is set to close during the first quarter or early second quarter of 2017.

The Deal Details

Per the terms of the all-stock deal, each share of Equity One common stock would be converted into 0.45 shares of newly issued shares of Regency common stock. Based on Regency’s closing price on Monday, this results in $31.44 per Equity One share.

Following the deal completion, Regency’s shareholders are estimated to own around 62% of the combined company’s equity, while the former Equity One shareholders are projected to enjoy about 38% ownership.

Regency’s board would increase to 12 directors, of which two would be designated by Equity One and one director designated by Gazit-Globe (Israeli real-estate company which owns around 34% of the outstanding stock of Equity One). Mr. Stein – Regency’s current Chairman and Chief Executive Officer – would continue his roles at the combined company.

The Deal Benefits

Notably, Regency has over 50 years of experience and has developed 223 shopping centers since 2000, marking an investment at completion of over $3 billion. The company has a solid portfolio of 307 retail properties. On the other hand, Equity One’s portfolio aggregated 122 properties, including 98 retail properties and five non-retail properties, and its retail occupancy excluding developments and redevelopments was 95.4% and included national, regional and local tenants as of Sep 30, 2016.

Their merger would, therefore, aid in creating a prominent grocery-anchored shopping center REIT with enhanced concentration in higher density, in-fill metro areas. It is projected to be accretive to core funds from operations per share and lead to around $27 million in annual run-rate cost saves by 2018.

Also, the combined entity would enjoy a greater diversity of high-quality tenants and include reputed grocers and retailers, like Publix, The Kroger Co. (KR - Free Report) , Whole Foods Market, Inc. , and The TJX Companies, Inc. (TJX - Free Report) .

Zacks Rank

Regency Centers currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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