TORONTO-Efforts by USA-based Ventas Inc. to acquire Sunrise Senior Living Real Estate Investment Trust have gotten a big boost from the Court of Appeal for Ontario after judges there ruled that a takeover agreement between the two REITs is binding. The court affirmed an earlier order by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice from March 6 that quashed a competing offer for Sunrise, a decision reported previously by GlobeSt.com.

A REIT headquartered in Louisville, KY, Ventas inked a C$15-per-share purchase agreement with Sunrise in January through an auction process, but was usurped by an C$18-per-share bid submitted in mid-February by Health Care Property Investors, Inc., another medical-sector REIT that is based in Long Beach, CA. Ventas then sued in Ontario requesting that its pact for Sunrise be upheld.

Besides mandating Sunrise to let the sale proceed, the court of appeal backed Ventas on its request that a so-called “standstill agreement” remain in effect banning HCPI from submitting any bids to acquire Sunrise for at least 18 months. Ventas also won a third ruling that says all of HCPI’s previous offers are breaches of the standstill agreement.

“Ventas looks forward to closing its transaction with Sunrise REIT,” company officials said in a release praising the verdicts. In comparison to its suitors, Sunrise is relatively small at 74 properties, whereas Ventas operates 455 senior living facilities representing nearly 50,000 beds. HCPI not only runs 337 senior living developments, it also owns 260 medical office buildings, 35 hospitals and 99 other healthcare-related assets.

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