Michelle Napoli is editor of Net Lease forum, from which this article is excerpted.

Scottsdale, AZ—In a deal that will mean one less net lease REIT for the public stock market but will boost the assets of its private acquirer from about $500 million to $3.5 billion, GE Capital Solutions has agreed to buy Trustreet Properties Inc. “It’s a big move to grow that product in our portfolio,” says Diane Cooper, president and CEO of the Scottsdale, AZ-based franchise finance business unit of Danbury, CT-based GE Capital Solutions.

Because the GE business has sold properties in the past, Cooper tells Net Lease forum the acquisition is a “great opportunity to reload,” adding, “Growth is a big thing for our business. But it’s not growth for growth’s sake. It has to be a strategic fit.”

GE Capital Solutions will pay $17.05 in cash for each share of Orlando, FL-based Trustreet. Combined with additional debt assumption, the deal is valued at approximately $3 billion. Trustreet’s core portfolio has more than 2,000 net-leased restaurant properties.

“This transaction provides the opportunity to combine Trustreet’s and GE Capital Solutions’ complementary industry best practices to dramatically expand the depth and breadth of financial services than can now be provided to our restaurant customers,” Trustreet president and CEO Curtis McWilliams states. He says Trustreet’s leading sale-leaseback capabilities, combined with GE Capital Solutions’ mortgage products, creates an expanded suite of products for restaurant operators “that reinforce both companies’ reputations.”

Cooper, noting that the GE business approached Trustreet about the deal,says the acquisition represents a purchase of more than just assets. It is also about people, expanded capabilities, a development business and relationships, she adds. The deal gives the GE business a buy-wholesale-and-sell-retail platform that targets single asset dispositions to the 1031 exchange investor market.

GE plans to move Trustreet employees to the GE Capital Solutions franchise finance company. The company says it will maintain an East Coast office at Trustreet’s Orlando headquarters.

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