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Vornado could sever ties with Trump; Marriott to grow Autograph Collection brand

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Vornado could sever ties with Trump; Marriott to grow Autograph Collection brand

S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of real estate news stories and more published throughout the week.

Fourth-quarter 2020 earnings reports from multifamily real estate investment trusts were weak, but improved rent and occupancy trends suggested coastal markets will continue improving, Mizuho analysts wrote.

In a Feb. 11 note, Haendel St. Juste and Zachary Silverberg noted that Equity Residential, UDR Inc. and Apartment Income REIT Corp. all released full-year 2021 guidance below expectations. They argued, though, that those outlooks appear conservative in light of positive trends in the year so far, including improved vaccine distribution, loosening local restrictions, and easier year-over-year earnings comparisons as the anniversary of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic arrives.

Equity Residential executives said on a conference call that the REIT plans to sell some properties in New York City and San Francisco and invest in smaller cities and suburban markets, despite its expectations that the major cities will rebound.

Positive expectations for coastal urban markets appear to hinge on successful vaccine distribution and a "return to normalcy" in the third quarter, though that may slip into the later months of the year, the Mizuho team wrote.

READ MORE: Sign up for our weekly coronavirus newsletter here, and read our latest coverage on the crisis here.

Cutting ties

* Office REIT Vornado Realty Trust is looking to part ways with former President Donald Trump's real estate company by buying out the Trump Organization's 30% interest in two properties that the companies jointly own, The Wall Street Journal reported. The properties are 1290 Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan, N.Y., and 555 California St. in San Francisco.

Signature deal

* Hospitality giant Marriott International Inc. will take 19 Blue Diamond Resorts properties in six countries, all owned by Sunwing Travel Group Inc., under its Autograph Collection brand by mid-2021. The deal includes five resorts each in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica; two in Saint Lucia; and one each in Costa Rica and Antigua.

Capital collection

* Digital Colony Management LLC, a unit of Colony Capital Inc., raised more than $4.1 billion at the first close of its second fund focused on global communications infrastructure investments, Bloomberg News reported, citing a memo sent to investors. The investment vehicle is looking to raise $6 billion in total capital commitments.

Blank-check bonanza

* Real estate technology-focused Crown Proptech Acquisitions is looking to raise $240 million by selling 24.0 million units in its IPO at $10.00 apiece. The blank-check company upsized the offering from 20.0 million units and granted the underwriters a 45-day overallotment option to buy 3.6 million additional units.

* Real estate virtual tours company Matterport Inc. agreed to merge with special-purpose acquisition company Gores Holdings VI Inc. to form an entity with an equity value of about $2.9 billion. The companies also plan to raise about $295 million from the sale of common shares of The Gores Group LLC-sponsored blank-check company.

Joining forces

* Online real estate platform Zillow Group Inc. agreed to acquire ShowingTime Inc., an online scheduling platform for home showings, for $500 million. ShowingTime will continue to operate as an open platform for its existing and new partners and will keep its existing data privacy policies.

* Real estate service provider CBRE Group Inc. acquired construction management and project advisory services firm Beezley Management LLC.

Conference call coverage

As the fourth-quarter earnings season progressed, S&P Global Market Intelligence reporters tuned in to conference calls hosted by some of the larger players in the real estate sector.

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