ATLANTA-Raleigh, NC-based Konover Property Trust is going private. Konover is being taken over in a joint venture between New York-based Lazard Freres’ Prometheus Southeast Retail Trust and an affiliate of New Hyde Park, NY-based Kimco Realty Corp.

Konover shareholders still have to approve the deal.

Prometheus bought a 66%-stake in Konover for $200 million, or $9.50 per share, in February 1999. Since then the stock has dropped precipitously.

Under the merger agreement, holders of Konover common stock, excluding a majority of the shares held by Prometheus, would receive $2.10 per share in exchange for their shares.

In addition, holders of Konover’s series A convertible preferred stock would receive either a new preferred security, representing a continuing interest in the company, or cash of $2.20 per share of common.

Daniel Kelly, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Konover, tells, “the company will continue to exist, but there is likely to be a name change with the change of ownership that is taking Konover private. The question of the Konover name is yet to be resolved.”

In a prepared statement, Credit Suisse First Boston, financial advisor to a special committee of Konover’s board of directors, approved the per-share price.

Konover currently owns, directly or through joint ventures, 37 shopping centers in seven southeastern states, totaling 4.8 million sf. The two Georgia properties are Merchants Festival Centre in Marietta and South Cobb Festival Center in Smyrna.

The REIT sold the outlet mall segment of its business for $180 million in September 2001, reducing debt by $165 million and shifting its portfolio to community centers.

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