Green Courte buys Florida REIT for $438m

The retirement community REIT, American Land Lease, will be bought by the Chicago-based private equity real estate firm. The deal is expected to close early 2009.

Green Courte Partners will acquire the Florida-based senior housing REIT American Land Lease in a deal valued at $438 million.

The Chicago private equity real estate firm said the deal had already been approved by American Land’s board. Green Courte will pay $14.20 a share with the assumption of debt and preferred stock.

The deal, the firm said in a statement, was not “contingent” on the success of Green Courte’s tender offer, although Green Courte is looking to achieve a minimum tender of 88 percent of American Land’s common stock. Investors in American Land's separate fund, Asset Investors Operating Partnership fund, also will be offered $14.20 a share for their interests.

Terry Considine, American Land chairman and chief executive officer, said the decision to sell to Green Courte had been taken after a “thorough year-long review of strategic alternatives”. American Land owns, develops and manages more than 10,000 senior housing properties in 30 locations in Florida, Arizona and Alabama.

Randy Rowe, Green Courte chairman, said the deal doubled the firm’s property portfolio. Green Courte targets retirement communities, retail and mixed-use properties and parking assets.

Private equity real estate firms globally have been lining themselves up to take advantage of REITs struggling in the wake of the credit crunch. In July, LaSalle Investment Management said it was targeting listed property trusts in Australia after warning the country’s property securities market had been “hard hit” by the turbulence in the credit markets.

American Land said during the summer it would consider selling “some or all” of its portfolio. The public property industry has struggled to balance declining market capitalisations against the value of their underlying real estate portfolios.
Canadian REIT, Huntingdon Real Estate Investment Trust, also put a for-sale sign on its 5.4-million-square-foot portfolio of office, retail and industrial buildings over the summer after unveiling a strategic review of the firm. The Western Canada-focused REIT owns 79 buildings and parking lots.