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PIMCO Acquiring Columbia Property Trust For $2.2B

PIMCO headquarters in Newport Beach, California

The rapid pace of mergers and acquisitions in commercial real estate continues, this time with a major bet on one of the industry's most struggling sectors.

Pacific Investment Management Co. has agreed to acquire Columbia Property Trust for $2.2B in cash, the two companies announced in a press release filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The total value of the transaction, which includes PIMCO assuming CPT's consolidated and unconsolidated debt, stands at $3.9B.

The cash price PIMCO has agreed to pay for CPT amounts to $19.30 per share of common stock, which represents a 16.6% premium on CPT's share price as of the end of trading on Friday, Yahoo Finance reports. In premarket trading after the transaction was announced, CPT shares rose 19.5%. The transaction could close as soon as before the end of the year, the announcement says.

A subsidiary of German financial services giant Allianz SE, the Newport Beach, California-based PIMCO has been Allianz's primary commercial real estate manager since merging with Allianz Real Estate last year, giving the combined entity over $180B in commercial real estate assets under management worldwide, according to the release.

With a portfolio of that scale, PIMCO seems to be betting on its ability to weather what is currently a storm of uncertainty regarding the long-term space needs of office-using companies. With the delta variant of the coronavirus suppressing office occupancy past the once-assumed return target of Labor Day, that uncertainty is set to continue for the foreseeable future.

CPT's portfolio consists primarily of urban core office buildings, which have been significantly outperformed by industrial, multifamily, suburban office and even non-shopping mall retail real estate in the past quarter.

As recently as March, the publicly traded real estate investment trust was receiving unsolicited acquisition offers. One publicly disclosed offer came from a group of private investors led by The Sapir Organization and was for almost the same price as what PIMCO ultimately agreed to pay.