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SEATTLE-Shurgard Storage Centers Inc. says it has signed confidentiality agreements with several parties interested in acquiring or partnering with the company. The news from the locally based self storage REIT comes one month after it officially began considering its strategic alternatives and four months after it rejected an unsolicited $2-billion takeover bid by its chief competitor, Glendale, CA-based Public Storage.

The pool of interested parties still includes Public Storage. As part of its confidentiality agreement with Shurgard, Public Storage has agreed not to take certain actions with respect to an acquisition of Shurgard without Shurgard’s approval prior to April 27, 2006.

Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. and Banc of America Securities LLC are serving as Shurgard’s financial advisors in connection with these matters. Willkie Farr and Gallagher LLP and Perkins Coie LLP are acting as legal counsel.

Shurgard announced its intention to “explore strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value” in late October. In late July, Shurgard’s board of directors rejected the takeover bid by Public Storage.

The company says its strategic alternatives include a sale of the company; formation of asset joint ventures with strategic partners; a sale of certain of its assets or operations; and continued implementation of Shurgard’s strategic business plan.

Shurgard operates a network of over 630 operating storage centers located throughout the US and Europe. Public Storage has interests in 1,480 storage facilities.

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