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Starwood Ups Ante In Bidding War For Industrial REIT Monmouth

Starwood Capital Group has raised its bid to buy Monmouth Real Estate Investment Corp. as it tries to outbid Sam Zell.

Sam Zell at NYU's Schack Institute of Real Estate's REIT symposium in 2017.

The new bid is $18.88 for each Monmouth share, up from the $18.70 that Starwood previously offered. Starwood's move is to unseat Zell's Equity Commonwealth in its efforts to acquire Monmouth. In April, Monmouth agreed to be acquired by Equity Commonwealth in an all-stock deal that would create an entity with a market capitalization of about $5.5B.

Under the terms of that agreement, Monmouth shareholders would receive 0.67 shares of Equity Commonwealth for every share of Monmouth they own. Based on the closing price for Equity Commonwealth on the day the deal was struck, that represents about $19.40 per Monmouth share.

The new bid by major investor Starwood, as its previous bid did, includes a termination fee of 63 cents per share, payable to Equity Commonwealth in the event that the Equity-Monmouth deal is scrapped. 

"Consistent with its statutory duties and in consultation with its financial and legal advisors, Monmouth’s board is now evaluating the amended proposal and has not made any determination as to what action to take in response to the proposal," the company said in a statement.

Monmouth specializes in net-leased industrial properties, owning about 24.5M SF in 31 states. Its portfolio's occupancy rate is 99.7%.

New Jersey-based Monmouth, which has existed as a REIT since 1968, traded for about $19.30 per share as of Wednesday. A year ago, it traded for about $14 per share, a bounceback from a pandemic low of less than $10 per share. Five years ago it was trading for about $13.80.

CORRECTION, JULY 21, 4:45 P.M. ET: A previous version of this story misstated the total increase per share of Starwood's offer for Monmouth. The story has been updated.