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REIT M&A slows to a trickle, but Brookfield-Rouse deal may be catalyst

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REIT M&A slows to a trickle, but Brookfield-Rouse deal may be catalyst

Thefirst quarter was a quiet period for REIT M&A, and the calm was almoststartling after 2015 fourth quarter's deal deluge. But the one deal that did manifest duringthe quarter caused a stir.

's offer to acquire Rouse Properties Inc. came as a surprise to the market,the firm's already significant ownership in the mall REIT notwithstanding. Inretail real estate, investors have shied away from the B mall operators, whosebusiness has been challenged in recent years by a spate of retailer storeclosures and bankruptcies, as well as the broader flight to quality.

Rouseis considered a proven and accomplished player in the B mall arena, but it isstill the B mallarena.

Thevalue-oriented mall space may yet prove to be a vital corner of the REITM&A scene in 2016. Some have speculated that Brookfield will use the Rouseplatform to consolidate the space. While not everyone agrees on thelikelihood of that move, many say scale would be a clear benefit in the market.

Withonly the Brookfield-Rouse deal factoring in the rankings, was theonly investment bank in the financial adviser line-up, with an assigned dealvalue of $717.0 million for its role advising Rouse Properties.

and wereassigned the same value in the legal adviser rankings. Sidley Austin advisedRouse Properties, and Weil Gotshal advised Brookfield.

SNL Financial is anoffering of S&P Global Market Intelligence.