S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of real estate news stories and more published throughout the week.
Real estate investment trust analysts at Robert W. Baird bumped their return expectations for the sector higher in a March 4 note, citing improved rent collections and cash flows and growing confidence across credit markets.
The Baird team now expects about 4% price-only returns and about 7% to 8% total returns for REITs in the near term, they said, while increasing their fair-value estimate for the MSCI US REIT Index by 15 points to 1,230. The index, which stood at 1,176.18 as of the close of trading March 3, had underperformed the S&P 500 by about 3,200 basis points over the 52 weeks.
At the start of 2021, with the data center and industrial property sectors popular among investors for their long-term secular growth potential, return expectations were higher for relatively lower-priced stocks in the hotel, office and net-lease sectors, the analysts said. After investors shifted toward the latter names, amid expectations for a quicker economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, investment opportunities now appear more balanced between companies with short-term and long-term growth potential, they added.
Las Vegas lane
* Casino REIT VICI Properties Inc. agreed to buy all of the land and real estate assets associated with the Venetian Resort and Sands Expo and Convention Center from Las Vegas Sands Corp. for $4.0 billion. Las Vegas Sands also agreed to sell The Venetian Resort and Sands Expo and Convention Center Operating Co. to funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management Inc. for $2.25 billion.
Of mergers, deals and SPACs
* Commercial real estate information provider CoStar Group Inc. withdrew its bid to purchase CoreLogic Inc. in a cash-and-stock deal and terminated any further acquisition discussions, saying CoreLogic's value "has changed" for CoStar.
* Homebuilder Lennar Corp.-backed real estate title firm Doma Holdings Inc., formerly States Title Holding Inc., is set to go public via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company. The move would give Doma an enterprise valuation of around $3.0 billion.
* Griffin Capital Essential Asset REIT Inc. closed its stock-for-stock merger with Cole Office & Industrial REIT (CCIT II) Inc. The deal creates a combined portfolio with 123 office and industrial properties across 26 U.S. states with a total asset value of $5.8 billion.
* Private equity-backed Singaporean online real estate company PropertyGuru Ltd. is exploring going public in the U.S. through a special purpose acquisition company merger, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The combined company could be worth $1 billion.
* Privately held real estate investment firm Cain International plans to list its first blank-check company in New York with an aim to raise about $250 million, Bloomberg News reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
* Healthcare REIT Welltower Inc. substantially exited its operating relationship with Genesis Healthcare Inc. in a series of transactions expected to result in proceeds of $745 million.
* Colony Capital Inc. unit Digital Colony Management LLC agreed to buy Boingo Wireless Inc. for $14.00 per share in cash in a deal valued at about $854 million.
* Shopping center landlord RPT Realty partnered with GIC Pte. Ltd., Zimmer Partners LP and Monarch Alternative Capital LP to launch a core net-lease retail real estate platform that will seek to acquire more than $1.2 billion of strategic assets.
* Embattled regional mall REIT Washington Prime Group Inc. is preparing a bankruptcy filing after skipping an interest payment on its debt, Bloomberg News reported, citing unnamed sources.
* Online real estate brokerage Compass Inc. filed for an IPO of an undisclosed number of its class A common shares on the NYSE. Estimated solely for calculating the registration fee, the proposed maximum total offering price is $500.0 million.
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