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REIT Replay: Cold shoulder

REITs closed out the week with decent gains, as a shareholder activist brushed aside Taubman's recent board moves. The broader markets, meanwhile, lost a bit of ground Friday, Dec. 16.

The MSCI US REIT Index (RMZ) rose 1.58% to 1,131.63, and the SNL US REIT Equity Index added 1.38% to 302.27. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.04% to 19,843.41, while the S&P 500 lost 0.18% to end the day at 2,258.07.

Taubman Centers Inc. received pushback for its recent move to add Cia Buckley Marakovits to its board and appoint existing board member Myron Ullman III to the newly created role of lead director.

In a Friday statement, Land & Buildings Investment Management LLC brushed off the move, calling it an attempt by Taubman to appear responsive to investor pressure and to create the illusion of improving its "woeful corporate governance." The shareholder activist argued that the company's latest action is only meant to further entrench the present board and the Taubman family.

Taubman shares popped 1.65% to close at $74.05.

Preferred Apartment Communities Inc. said Friday its board reaffirmed the company's focus on growing the grocery-anchored shopping center portfolio of its New Market Properties LLC unit. Subject to market conditions and New Market achieving sufficient scale, the company plans to eventually spin off, sell or distribute the unit.

Preferred Apartment shares edged 1.48% higher to close at $13.74.

On the property front, Gramercy Property Trust Inc. announced Friday that it picked up a portfolio of 17 bulk warehouses spanning 10.3 million square feet for $521 million. The company also issued $350.0 million of senior unsecured notes in a private placement.

Gramercy shares jumped 3.23%, closing at $8.63.

Xenia Hotels & Resorts Inc. on Friday said it offloaded four hotel properties for roughly $119 million in proceeds, which it will use for debt repayments, potential acquisitions and other general corporate functions.

Xenia Hotels shares climbed 1.98% to close at $19.62.

Columbia Property Trust Inc. after market close Thursday said it disposed of two class A office properties in Irving, Texas, and Chandler, Ariz., marking its departure from the Dallas and Phoenix markets. The company generated $109.5 million in combined proceeds from the sales.

Columbia Property shares increased 2.57% to close at $21.16.

American Hotel Income Properties REIT LP said Friday that it struck a roughly US$124.0 million deal to acquire three hotels in Ohio and Kentucky. The company will use proceeds from its bought-deal offering and a new US$65.0 million CMBS loan to finance the transaction.

American Hotel Income shares inched up 0.10% to C$10.19.

Pure Multi-Family REIT LP announced after market close Thursday that it is poised to enter the Austin, Texas, market with its planned acquisition of the Lenox Creekside luxury apartment community for US$40.0 million. The company expects to close on the transaction in late January 2017.

Pure Multi-Family shares ticked up 1.72%, closing at $5.90.

Morguard North American Residential REIT announced a public offering of 4,370,000 trust units at C$13.75 apiece, with a 655,500-unit overallotment option granted to the underwriters. The company expects to pull in gross proceeds of C$60.1 million from the offering.

Morguard North American Residential shares slipped 3.77% to end the day at C$13.51.

American Finance Trust Inc. and American Realty Capital - Retail Centers of America Inc. disclosed in a joint Dec. 16 filing that their respective special shareholder meetings to vote on their pending roughly $1.4 billion merger have been delayed. The votes will now take place Feb. 13, 2017, instead of an original target of Jan. 25, 2017.

In macro news, the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported that housing starts for privately owned units in the country came to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,090,000 in November, down 18.7% month over month.

Now featured on S&P Global Market Intelligence

The Week in US Real Estate: Family feud; trading places: The Dec. 16 weekly news roundup in the North American real estate space features shareholder criticism over a major stake ownership and a handful of top-tier management changes.

Research Roundup: Friday, North American real estate edition: An upgrade, a pair of downgrades and a handful of initiations are featured in this roundup of recent research reports.

Best of SNL: Real Estate, most read: The 10 most read real estate articles for the week ending Dec. 16.

Best of SNL: Real Estate, editors' picks: Our real estate editors' picks for the best stories of the week ending Dec. 16.

Market prices and index values are current as of the time of publication and are subject to change.