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HOUSTON-Far from being rebuffed at its first attempt to acquire HCP REIT, American Spectrum Realty is offering to buy up to 485,000 common shares in direct deals with stockholders. The $4.8-million acquisition plan effectively skirts executive management and boards of directors that blocked its bid last month.

The shareholder offer expires Feb. 28. In November, HCP REIT refused to consider the local investment group’s offer for $10 per share. The board labeled the offer as “unrealistic.”

If this gambit is successful, American Spectrum Realty could end up owning 4.9% of HCP REIT. Meanwhile, William J. Carden, chairman and CEO of American Spectrum said in a press release that his company is renewing its $10 per share offer to HCP REIT’s board. A total HCP REIT acquisition would be valued at close to $100 million.

James Mastandrea, HCP REIT’s interim CEO and board chairman, tells GlobeSt.com that, while the comeback offer was unexpected, he wasn’t necessarily surprised. “We’re working through it. We’ll take another look at it and figure it out,” he adds.

American Spectrum upper-level management did not return phone calls by deadline, but one local source knowledgeable about REITs and the Houston market isn’t surprised by American Spectrum’s efforts. “I think American Spectrum sees a good opportunity to pick up portfolio properties at below-market rates through this acquisition,” the source says.

The source, which isn’t connected with American Spectrum or HCP REIT, points out that American Spectrum’s activities are common among other private REITS. “The climate is such these days that properties are valued at higher than the stock price,” he explains. “Because of that, we’re seeing a trend of REITs being privatized because those assets are worth more than the stocks.”

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