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Equity Office Backs Blackstone Bid

The office owner says Vornado's rival buyout offer carries too much risk.

Equity Office Properties (EOP) reaffirmed its support for Blackstone Group's bid to buy the company, saying a slightly higher offer from Vornado (VNO) - Get Report carries too much risk.

Equity Office agreed to be acquired by Blackstone in November in a deal now valued at $54 a share in cash. The transaction is expected to close as soon as next week.

On Thursday, Vornado

submitted a $56-a-share bid to buy Equity Office using a blend of stock and cash.

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Equity Office said Friday that its board determined that the Vornado deal would take four to six months to close, due to the requirement of a Vornado shareholder vote and the potential for a

Securities and Exchange Commission

review.

Given the time delay, the board has been advised that the net present value of Vornado's offer was $54.28 to $54.88 a share.

"In the view of the Board of Equity Office, the approximately 1% higher net present value of the Vornado offer fails to adequately compensate Equity Office shareholders for the increased risk when compared to the Blackstone transaction whose closing conditions have largely been satisfied and, if approved, is scheduled to close next week," Equity Office said in a statement.