CHICAGO- The New York City-based Blackstone Group has responded positively to the successful vote Wednesday for its purchase of Equity Office Properties Trust, through an EOP shareholder vote, for $55.50 a share, or about $39 billion. Some 275 million shares (77% of the total) were represented at the special meeting on Wednesday, and 92% of those shares voted in favor of the all-cash Blackstone offer. The vote came just hours after Vornado Realty Trust removed its competing bid of $41 billion, which included a stock/cash offer and a deal that would have taken a few months to close, from the table.

Blackstone is expected to close its all-cash deal by Friday, and Richard Kincaid, president and chief executive officer of EOP, has a meeting here in Chicago with an acquisition team, which will likely include Jon Gray, Blackstone’s senior managing director for real estate, on Monday.

Kincaid might have a little explaining to do. In a press conference following the EOP vote, Kincaid said it’s his guess that Blackstone will probably be selling off more of EOP’s properties than expected, because of the price Blackstone ended up paying after the bidding war. “They may need to mark up the assets more than they planned,” Kincaid said. However, a source close to the deal tells that Kincaid was talking out of school about Blackstone’s plans for EOP assets.

Officially, Blackstone looks forward to closing the transaction, a spokesman says. “We are pleased to have secured what we believe is a compelling investment for Blackstone investors, and gratified by the overwhelming support of EOP shareholders,” says the spokesman.

As reported this morning, Vornado pulled its higher bid–$56 per share–concluding 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.”

On Sunday, Vornado had offered to push more cash to the front of the deal, forcing Blackstone to hike its bid on Monday to $39 billion in cash, still under the higher Vornado offer. Not surprisingly, the Blackstone spokesman had said the company’s offer was “superior ” and that the Vornado deal was “ risky.” Vornado responded Sunday night with a revised tender offer for a minimum of 51% of EOP’s shares for $56 per share in cash, and the rest in Vornado shares if the tender was oversubscribed. The offer included more upfront cash.

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. “There were many interesting tactics and strategies going back and forth,” Kincaid said. “Vornado’s deal had a high hurdle, with the stock and the months-long delay for the deal to close. It just ended up that Blackstone ended up the day.”

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.

Kincaid says Blackstone, or any buyers of EOP’s properties, will likely keep on much of the company’s building management employees. “We know that Blackstone wanted to hold onto some properties in Chicago, we’re hopeful that they can keep an operational base here.” About 600 people work for EOP in Chicago, with 2,100 total employees in the company.

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