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JP Morgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch lead real estate underwriters

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC defended its 2016 title as the top underwriter of REIT and REOC debt offerings in the first quarter, but fell just short of Bank of America Merrill Lynch among equity underwriters in the real estate sector.

In all, real estate companies' capital-raising rose on a year-over-year basis in the first quarter. Common equity offerings totaled $11.76 billion for the quarter, over 50 deals, compared to $9.23 billion over 52 deals in the first quarter of 2016. Debt raises totaled $15.26 billion over 45 deals, compared to $10.23 billion over 27 deals a year earlier.

Both J.P. Morgan and Bank of America Merrill Lynch advised on the two biggest equity deals of the quarter: a $2.19 billion offering from Equinix Inc. and a $750.4 million offering from Colony Starwood Homes. Both also underwrote the two largest debt deals: a $1.25 billion offering from Equinix and a pair of offerings, worth $900 million and $600 million, respectively, from Hilton Inc.

As in 2016, Bank of America Merrill Lynch finished second in the quarter among real estate debt underwriters, followed by Wells Fargo Securities LLC. Third among equity underwriters was Morgan Stanley.

There was a tie for the top real estate IPO underwriter spot, as eight underwriters each received $221.4 million in deal credit for Invitation Homes Inc.' $1.77 billion debut offering. Among preferred equity underwriters, J.P. Morgan came in second behind RBC Capital Markets LLC, which had $76.9 million in deal credit on two offerings.

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