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REIT Replay: REITs see solid gains; markets slide further

Real estate investment trusts notched notable gains, and the broader markets continued to lose ground Wednesday, March 28, as the latest projection by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis showed that the economy grew at an annual rate of 2.9% in the 2017 fourth quarter, beating previous estimates.

LaSalle Hotel Properties rejected a stock-for-stock merger proposal from fellow hotel REIT Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, saying the offer "significantly undervalues" LaSalle's hotel portfolio, among other reasons. Pebblebrook offered 0.8655 common share for each LaSalle common share.

Separately, LaSalle said it expects to pay quarterly dividends of 22.5 cents per common share for the second, third and fourth quarters, down 50% from the company's first-quarter dividend.

LaSalle shares surged 15.33% to $28.13 and Pebblebrook shares rose 3.46% to end the day at $34.69.

GGP Inc. detailed certain no-shop and termination fee provisions in the regional mall REIT's merger deal with a subsidiary of commercial real estate company Brookfield Property Partners LP. If GGP terminates the deal, it could be required to pay Brookfield Property or its affiliate a $400 million cash termination fee, given certain conditions. If Brookfield Property terminates the deal, it could have to pay GGP a reverse cash termination fee of $1.2 billion, under certain conditions.

Shares of GGP gained 2.34%, closing at $20.55.

Shareholders of regional mall landlord Simon Property Group Inc. will vote on a stockholder proposal requesting that future employment agreements with Chairman and CEO David Simon not include any termination benefits following a change in the company's control. Simon Property's board recommended that shareholders vote against the proposal at the company's annual meeting, scheduled for May 8.

Shares of Simon Property added 3.61% to close at $155.91.

Diversified REIT iStar Inc. and ground-lease REIT Safety Income & Growth Inc. named Andrew Richardson interim CFO, with CFO and COO Geoffrey Jervis set to depart the companies, effective March 31, to pursue other opportunities. Richardson most recently was CFO of real estate developer Howard Hughes Corp.

Shares of Safety Income & Growth fell 0.94% to $15.88, and iStar shares ticked up 0.40%, closing at $10.08.

Diversified REIT Cominar Real Estate Investment Trust closed the sale of its 95-property Canadian portfolio to Slate Acquisitions Inc. and its designees for gross proceeds of C$1.14 billion.

Cominar REIT shares closed 0.93% higher at C$12.97.

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Data Dispatch: US REITs repurchase 190 million shares in 2017: Chart Watch: Thirty-one U.S. real estate investment trusts announced new share repurchase programs or increases to existing plans in 2017, with American Tower Corp. announcing the largest repurchase plan at $2 billion.

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