(Ian Ritter is national online editor for GlobeSt.com/RETAIL.)

PORT WASHINGTON, NY-Grocery-anchored center owner Equity One, of North Miami Beach, FL, is offering about $380 million, or $17 per share, for Cedar Shopping Centers. Cedar’s board responded with a statement saying it would “promptly convene a meeting to consider this proposal.”

Shares of locally based Cedar, which owns 58 centers in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, closed yesterday at $14.92. “We believe that our proposed transaction would provide maximum liquidity and value for Cedar’s common shareholders,” says Chaim Katzman, Equity One’s chairman and CEO, in a statement. “We are very familiar with Cedar’s assets and operations and believe they are highly complementary to our own.”

The deal would give Equity One centers in Northeastern states where it does not currently have a presence. Right now the only assets it owns in the region are in Massachusetts.

Katzman says Equity One could finance the deal in cash but could also offer an equity component if that option is preferred by Cedar’s board and shareholders. He also urged Cedar management to suspend a public offering of nine million of its shares.

Equity One owns 188 properties, mostly in the South. The company entered the Northeast last year with the acquisition of six centers in the Boston area for $119.8 million. In an interview with related site GlobeStRETAIL earlier this year, Katzman said that his company had an acquisition target of $250 million for 2005.

Yesterday during their quarterly conference call, Cedar executives said that they expect their total assets to climb near $1 billion in value by the end of the year, up from their current worth of $655 million. Reaching that goal hinges on the closing of some centers the REIT currently has under contract as well as future acquisitions, they said.

Cedar acquisitions pending that were announced last month are the $33-million purchase of Trexler Mall, in Trexlertown, PA, and the $8-million buy of Mills Shopping Center, in Columbia, MD. Acquisitions that have been have been in play since the company’s Q2, which ended June 30, are four redevelopment properties in Michigan and Pennsylvania, for $24 million and eight supermarket-anchored centers in Pennsylvania and Virginia for $95 million.

Besides the purchases it has in the works, Cedar is combing the market for buys, said Leo Ullman, CEO of Cedar, during the company’s call. “We’re comfortable that the assets are out there for us to acquire.”

During the second quarter, Cedar closed on 25-drugstore-anchored centers for $89.3 million. The company also has four centers totaling 720,000 sf under redevelopment as well as one 91,000-sf center under construction, in Hershey, PA. For its Q2, Cedar’s year-over-year FFO increased 28.9%, to $5.5 million. Revenue jumped 34.9%, to $17 million, and net income was $3.4 million, up from $1.9 million in last year’s Q2.

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