MEMPHIS, Tenn. and BIRMINGHAM, Ala., June 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- MAA (NYSE: MAA) and Colonial Properties Trust (NYSE: CLP) today announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which MAA and Colonial Properties Trust will merge, creating a Sunbelt-focused, publicly traded, multifamily REIT with enhanced capabilities to deliver superior value for residents, shareholders and employees. The combined company is expected to have a pro forma equity market capitalization of approximately $5.1 billion and a total market capitalization of $8.6 billion. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110614/CL19184LOGO ) (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130603/CL24465LOGO ) Under the terms of the agreement, each Colonial Properties Trust common share will be converted into 0.36 newly issued MAA common share, and the combined company will be an UPREIT. On a pro forma basis, following the merger, former MAA equity holders will hold approximately 56 percent of the combined company's equity, and former Colonial Properties Trust equity holders will hold approximately 44 percent. The all-stock merger is intended to be a tax-free transaction. The merger is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of the approval of a majority of both the MAA and Colonial Properties Trust shareholders. The parties currently expect the transaction to close during the third quarter of 2013. The merger brings together two highly complementary multifamily portfolios with a combined asset base consisting of approximately 85,000 multifamily units in 285 properties. The combined company will maintain strategic diversity across large and secondary markets within the high growth Sunbelt region of the U.S. The combined company's ten largest markets will be Dallas/Ft. Worth, Atlanta, Austin, Raleigh, Charlotte, Nashville, Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando and Houston. "The combination of MAA and Colonial Properties Trust will provide an enhanced competitive advantage across the Sunbelt region," said H. Eric Bolton, Jr., MAA CEO. "The scale of the combined company will support accelerated growth and deployment of capital across our high-growth Sunbelt markets driving superior value creation opportunity for our shareholders. In addition, through capitalizing on the strengths gained from the combination of the two platforms, we will enhance our ability to serve residents across the region, drive higher margins as a result of synergies and advantages generated by the merger, and enhance career opportunities for our associates." "This is a combination that makes a lot of sense for the constituents of both Colonial Properties Trust and MAA," added Thomas H. Lowder, Colonial Properties Trust CEO. "Our two companies have a shared vision for success that will only be enhanced by coming together through this merger transaction. We are excited for the future of our combined company." Leadership and Organization Both the Board of Directors of MAA and Board of Trustees of Colonial Properties Trust have unanimously approved the merger. The number of directors on MAA's Board of Directors will be increased to 12, of which 5 directors will be nominated by Colonial Properties Trust's Board of Trustees. Thomas H. Lowder will join the Board of Directors along with four others from Colonial Properties Trust. Alan B. Graf, Jr. and Ralph Horn, Co-Lead Independent Directors for MAA, will serve as Co-Lead Independent Directors for the combined company. H. Eric Bolton, Jr., MAA's CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors, will serve as CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the combined company. Albert M. Campbell, III, MAA's CFO, will serve as CFO of the combined company, and Thomas L. Grimes, Jr., MAA's COO, will serve as the COO of the combined company. Upon completion of the merger, the company will retain the MAA name and will trade under the ticker symbol MAA (NYSE). Following the close of the transaction, the combined company's corporate headquarters will be located in Memphis, TN.Anticipated Synergies Annual gross G&A savings are estimated to be approximately $25 million. The combined company is expected to benefit from the elimination of duplicative costs associated with supporting a public company platform and the leveraging of state of the art technology and systems. These savings are expected to be realized upon full integration, which is expected to occur over the 18-month period following the closing. Pro Forma Operations and Balance Sheet Both companies have high quality properties diversified across the Sunbelt region. On a consolidated basis the company will have a strong presence in both large and secondary markets. With a significant regional overlap, meaningful opportunity for synergy and margin improvement is expected. The combined company is committed to a strategy aimed at driving superior long-term shareholder performance with a full-cycle performance profile and objective.