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NORTH MIAMI BEACH, FL-In a move to offset costs of a pending merger, Equity One Inc. has sold 1.3 million shares of its publicly traded common stock to Alony-Hetz Properties & Investments Ltd., a Ramat Gan, Israel-based real estate investment company.

The North Miami Beach-based real estate investment trust sold the shares at a prearranged price of about $10.88 per share, for a total value estimated at $14.1 million. Proceeds will be used to offset costs related to the REIT’s pending merger with Houston-based United Investors Realty Trust.

By acquiring the stock, Alony-Hetz is exercising terms of an investment agreement it signed in October last year. Under terms of the agreement, the Israel-based company pledged to invest up to $32 million in Equity One stock prior to Dec. 31, 2002.

With the latest acquisition, Alony-Hetz now owns about 2.33 million shares and warrants to acquire another 650,000 shares–all at an exercise price of about $10.88 per share. Once it fulfills the terms of the investment agreement, Alony-Hetz would own about 9.9% of the REIT’s outstanding common stock.

The latest stock acquisition included a premium, since shares in the North Miami Beach-based REIT last traded up nine cents Friday at $11.64 on volume of 18,800. Shares have traded as high as low as $9.38 and as high as $12.53 over the past 52-weeks.

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