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Arden Realty May Be Next REIT For Buyout

Both the rumor mill and heavy stock trading point to the possibility that Arden Realty (ARI), one of Southern California's largest office owners, may become the next real estate investment trust to go private.

The rumor was first published by Barry Vinocur, a veteran REIT industry watcher, in his REIT Newshound note late Thursday.

Vinocur cited an unnamed source who said an announcement is reportedly imminent on a deal that would take Los Angeles-based Arden private. The deal would involve a breakup privatizing Arden, with one or two public REITs also taking pieces of the company, he wrote.

After barely moving for the past month, Arden shares rose 4.5% Thursday to $40.40, with heavy trading volume.

It isn't the first time that Arden has been the subject of buyout speculation. "Management has always indicated there is a price at which to sell," one major institutional investor in the company told TheStreet.com.

Arden didn't return a call seeking comment.

Industry watchers expect more REITs might go private since share prices in the sector have taken a beating recently on interest rate fears.

This year, Capital Automotive (CARS), Gables Residential (GBP), and CRT Properties (CRO) all approved plans to go private and investors were rewarded with premiums that ranged from 9% to 15%.

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