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

NEW YORK CITY-Kimco Realty Trust might be considering an acquisition of fellow shopping center owner New Plan Excel Realty Trust, according to a Bank of America Equity Research report. The speculation shot locally based New Plan’s stock up more than 5% from its closing price of $23.85 per share on Tuesday.

Kimco, based in New Hyde Park, would have to pay between $27 and $28 a share to get the deal done, the report predicts. Such a deal would value New Plan at just over $2.9 billion.

“We don’t comment on market rumors,” says a New Plan spokeswoman, in response to the report. Kimco executives could not be reached for comment.

The acquisition would add 458 centers in 39 states to Kimco’s 1,117 properties in the US, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico. New Plan’s portfolio of grocery-anchored centers would be a good fit for Kimco, whose portfolio is largely made up of supermarket tenants, the report says.

Bank of America says it believes that New Plan will sell for the right price. “A theoretical deal could make strategic and economic sense,” the report says. “A merger between Kimco and New Plan would not be unreasonable, in our view.”

Kimco’s last big acquisition of a shopping center portfolio was in December 2004, when it acquired the 33-center portfolio of Price Legacy Corp. for $696 million. New Plan, whose chief executive officer is Glenn Rufrano, in 2002 bought Equity Investment Group’s 58 centers for $437 million.

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