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JACKSONVILLE, FL-Florida East Coast Industries, the locally based owner of Flagler Development Group and Florida East Coast Railway, LLC, has entered into a merger agreement with Fortress Investment Group. Under the deal, the New York City-headquartered Fortress would pay a total $3.5 billion to take FECI.

According to FECI, the combined dividend and merger consideration equal $84 per share and represents a 13.3% premium to the New York Stock Exchange closing price of $74.13 per share on May 7. It also represents a 31% premium to the average closing price over the past 60 trading days.

FECI’s board of directors unanimously approved the merger with Fortress and the deal is expected to close in the third quarter. FECI will provide further details on the transaction during its first quarter earnings conference call May 9; GlobeSt.com will continue to follow the story.

“Our focus has always been about maximizing shareholder value. The value created by this transaction is a direct result of our employees’ dedication, commitment and hard work over many years,” FECI chairman, president and CEO Adolfo Henriques says in a statement. “We look forward to working with Fortress to continue to build our business.”

Morgan Stanley acted as financial advisor to FECI. Greenberg Traurig, P.A. acted as legal advisor to FECI and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP acted as legal advisor to Fortress.

Flagler Development Group owns, develops, leases and holds in joint ventures approximately 8.6 million sf of class A office and industrial space, mostly in Jacksonville, Orlando and Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Flagler also provides construction, consulting, third party brokerage and property management services, and owns 846 acres of entitled land in Florida, which is available for development of up to an additional 15.9 million sf. Flagler owns approximately 3,089 acres of other Florida properties.

Florida East Coast Railway is a regional freight railroad that operates 351 miles of mainline track from Jacksonville to Miami and provides intermodal drayage services at terminals located in Atlanta, Jacksonville, Ft. Pierce, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami.

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