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NEW YORK CITY-After all is said and done, there’s more said than done. After weeks of tussling with Blackstone, Vornado Realty Trust has pulled out of the race for ownership of Equity Office Properties Trust. In a statement, Vornado officials cited their shareholders’ best interest: “Vornado concluded that the premium it would have to pay to top Blackstone’s latest bid, protected by a twice-increased breakup fee, would not be in its shareholders’ interest.”

The New York City-based investment firm last raised the stakes on Sunday with the offer to pay more of its total $41-billion offering up front. This apparently pushed Blackstone, which had started the bidding in November with $36 billion and promised to stand firm, to increase its offer to $39 billion, still below Blackstone’s offer.

Blackstone had originally offered $48.50 per share for EOP, and then a partnership led by Vornado offered $52 per share, but with conditions. That partnership, Dove Parent LLC, was made up of Vornado, Starwood Capital and Chicago-based Walton Street EOP.

Blackstone countered with $54 per share, and Starwood and Walton Street dropped out at the same time that Vornado made another counteroffer for $56 per share. The EOP board had recommended the all-cash Blackstone offer to its shareholders.

Although the path has been cleared for Blackstone, the formal word from EOP is still to be heard. But the wait shouldn’t be long. A shareholder vote is expected before the end of the day. GlobeSt.com will be following the news as it breaks.

The deal includes taking on about $16 billion in EOP debt. EOP has a total office portfolio consisting of whole or partial interests in 580 buildings comprising 108.6 million sf in 16 states and the District of Columbia.

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