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FORT WORTH-Fifteen days after announcing the deal, Crescent Real Estate Equities Co. and Vornado Realty Trust have inked the final paper to create a REIT from the AmeriCold Logistics holdings and flip a 20.7% stake to Los Angeles-based Yucaipa Cos. The all-in take totals $192.7 million.

For $145 million, Yucaipa, an 18-year-old private equity fund and grocery chain giant, has taken over day-to-day operations of the Atlanta-based AmeriCold while the search heats up for a new top executive. As previously reported, the Fort Worth-based Crescent’s stake drops to 31.7% from 40% while the Paramus, NJ-headquartered Vornado cuts its 60% to 47.6% to make way for Yucaipa, which bought in based on a near $1.5-billion total enterprise value.

Under the plan, Yucaipa’s investment will earn a 20% promote through Dec. 31, 2007, of any increased value in AmeriCold. The promote is capped at 10% of the controlling partners’ remaining common shares in AmeriCold. The packaged play includes merging two AmeriCold entities, generating $47.7 million in cash for Crescent and Vornado.

Based on previous statements, Crescent’s net gain nudges $11 million and Vornado picks up $20 million. The closing also repaid a $26.8-million loan held by Vornado Operating Co.

With Yucaipa at the helm, the 75%-leased, 87-property portfolio, totaling 17.5 million in 32 states, is expected to make significant strides. John C. Goff, vice chairman and CEO for Crescent, previously told GlobeSt.com that Yucaipa expects to realize a 20% to 25% return on its investment.

Yucaipa’s expectations translate into an operations change for the temperature-controlled asset, which has been under the magnifying glass for its losses in recent years. A line of consultants advised Crescent and Vornado to sell. “I always thought it offered more upside than the industry analysts gave it credit for,” Goff says in a previous GlobeSt.com interview. “Getting an entity like Yucaipa really validates the company.” And, he added, the sale means Crescent has recaptured more than half of its $300-million investment and its partner, Vornado, is sitting with a comparable return.

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