Equity Office Properties Trust shareholders today approved Blackstone Group's cash bid to buy the giant office real estate investment trust for $55.50 a share, according to an Equity Office Properties news release. Hours earlier, Vornado Realty Trust ended the bidding war it started two weeks ago. "Vornado concluded that the premium it would have to pay to top Blackstone's latest bid … would not be in its shareholders' interest," according to a Vornado news release. In an interview, Vornado spokeswoman Wendi Kopsick added that Blackstone's offer, taken together with an increase in the breakup fee to $720 million from $200 million, made the price too high for Vornado shareholders. Vornado's latest bid, made Sunday, was $56 a share, with 55% cash upfront and the balance in Vornado shares. EOP spokeswoman Terry Holt did not return calls by press time.
Some 92% of Equity Office's shareholders favored the deal, which Blackstone sweetened Tuesday from its original offer of $48.50 a share.
"We are pleased to have secured what we believe is a compelling investment for Blackstone investors, and gratified by the overwhelming support of EOP shareholders. We look forward to closing the transaction on Friday," John Ford, Blackstone spokesman, said in a prepared statement.