Reuters news service is reporting that Equity Office Properties Trust, which agreed to be bought by Blackstone Group in November, said Monday its board agreed to meet with a Vornado Realty Trust investor group that submitted a rival bid last week and to share information. Equity Office has entered discussions with the Vornado group, which includes Starwood Capital Group Global and Walton Street Capital, and has asked them to submit a definitive proposal by January 31. Blackstone, a New York-based private equity firm, agreed to buy Equity Office for $48.50 per share in cash, or $20 billion excluding debt.
As I mentioned in a post back in November, many institutional owners of shares in Equity, a REIT, complained that Blackstone's offer price was too low. Vornado submitted an offer last week of stock and cash worth $52 per share, or $21.6 billion. Looks like Equity Office, the world's largest office landlord, is going to be the prize in a bidding war among an increasing number of suitors.