REIT research firm Green Street Advisors up for sale-sources

NEW YORK, March 20 Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:35pm EDT

NEW YORK, March 20 (Reuters) - Green Street Advisors Inc, the provider of research on real estate investment trusts (REITs) whose services are widely used by property investors, is exploring a sale, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The Newport Beach, California-based company has attracted interest from financial investors, including private equity firms, the people said this week, asking not to be identified because the sale process is not public.

Privately held Green Street is working with investment bank Evercore Partners Inc to identify and negotiate with potential buyers, one of the people said.

"We won't comment publicly on any rumors about Green Street or our clients," Green Street Advisors President Craig Leupold said by email. An Evercore spokesman also declined to comment.

Founded in 1985, Green Street makes recommendations on more than 100 publicly traded real estate stocks in North America and Europe as well as market forecasts on commercial property values and the fortunes of REITs.

It provides data and analytics to a long list of clients that includes institutional investors, private equity firms, real estate owners and developers, retailers, pension funds and endowment funds.

It was not immediately clear why the employee-owned company had decided to explore a sale now. Green Street has a small workforce of just over 75 people, according to its website.

The combined market capitalization of REITs, whose largest players include Simon Property Group and General Growth Properties Inc, exceeded $600 billion in 2013, surging from $3 billion in 1986, according to Green Street's website. (Reporting by Soyoung Kim and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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