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July 10 (Reuters) - Shopping center owner and operator Regency Centers Corp offered to buy AmREIT Inc for about $433 million to expand in Texas and Georgia.
AmREIT’s shares jumped as much as 14.6 percent to the offer price of $22 before giving up some of the gains, while Regency’s stock rose marginally.
Regency, which made public its bid on Thursday in a letter to AmREIT’s chief executive, said it was open to improving the offer.
The company said it was willing to pay AmREIT’s shareholders in cash or stock or a combination of both.
AmREIT was not immediately available for comment.
The company has 19 shopping centers, many of them anchored by a Kroger Co or a Safeway Inc supermarket, mainly in markets such as Houston, Austin, Dallas and Atlanta.
Regency plans to finance the deal with its existing credit facility.
Wells Fargo Securities acted as Regency’s financial adviser and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP and Foley & Lardner LLP as legal counsel.
AmREIT’s shares were up 13 percent in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday. (Reporting by Mridhula Raghavan in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian and Sriraj Kalluvila)