Schorsch wrote to CCPT III's board that the merger would create the largest traded net lease REIT.

NEW YORK CITY-Having recently completed its acquisition of American Realty Capital Trust III, American Realty Capital Properties Inc. is setting its sights on nontraded REIT Cole Credit Property Trust III. ARCP said Wednesday that it had offered to buy CCPT III in a deal valued at more than $9 billion, including assumption of debt.

In a letter dated March 19, Nicholas Schorsch, ARCP’s chairman and CEO, wrote to CCPT III’s board, “We believe our offer for CCPT III… represents a strength-for-strength merger of complimentary portfolios that would provide CCPT III stockholders with certainty of value while benefiting both CCPT III and ARCP stockholders through the creation of the largest, highest quality publicly traded REIT in the net lease sector.” The proposal includes the purchase of 100% of CCPT III’s outstanding common stock for at least $5.7 billion, or not less than $12 per share.

Barclays Capital Inc. and RCS Capital are acting as ARCP’s financial advisors. Legal counsel on the offer is coming from Proskauer Rose LLP and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.

Phoenix-based CCPT III itself just went into acquisition mode, entering an agreement earlier this month to buy Cole Holdings Corp. Assuming that the deal closes, sometime in the second quarter, CCPT III would change its name to Cole Real Estate Investments Inc. and pursue a listing on the New York Stock Exchange. ARCP states in its letter to the CCPT III board that it believes its offer is superior, and asks the board to drop plans to buy Cole Holdings.

Representatives of CCPT III were not immediately available for comment Wednesday morning. will provide an update as further information becomes available.