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NORTH MIAMI BEACH, FL-In a deal valued at about $7.1 million, Equity One Inc. has closed on the sale of 650,000 shares of its publicly traded common stock to Alony-Hetz Properties & Investments Ltd.

Proceeds from the sale will be used for general corporate purposes and to offset some of the costs associated with Equity One’s pending acquisition and merger with Houston-based United Investors Realty Trust.

The North Miami Beach-based real estate investment trust originally announced in early August that the Ramat Gan, Israel-based real estate investment group intended to acquire about 1.3 million shares for a total value of about $14.1 million.

Exercising stock-purchase warrants, the Alony-Hetz group paid slightly less than $10.88 a piece for a stock that last traded at $11.19 on Sept. 10. The group agreed in October 2000 to exercise warrants totaling $32 million in Equity One common stock prior to December 2002.

Following the most recent purchase, the Alony-Hetz group owns about 2.98 million shares of Equity One common stock, or about 10.5% of the total outstanding on a fully diluted basis.

It is anticipated that once Equity One completes a pending merger with Canadian-based Centrefund Realty (U.S.) Corp., due to close on Sept. 20, the investment group would own about 10.6% of Equity One’s total stock outstanding.

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