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WASHINGTON, DC-Liberty Property Trust has formed a joint venture with an unnamed institutional partner. The Malvern, PA-based REIT intends to contribute the properties it will acquire through its pending acquisition of Republic Property Trust and Republic Property Limited Partnership.

The joint venture, in which Liberty will hold a 25% interest, would purchase the Republic properties for approximately $900 million. In July, Liberty announced that it signed a definitive merger agreement to acquire the local REIT in an all cash transaction for approximately $850 million, or $14.70 per share. The purchase price per share represents a 28% premium over Republic’s closing share price on July 23.

Eventually, the JV is expected to grow to approximately $2.2 billion through the acquisition and development of additional properties in the Washington, DC and Northern Virginia markets, the company says in a statement. “This joint venture will further Liberty’s ability to penetrate the Washington/Northern Virginia market,” says Bill Hankowsky, chairman and CEO of Liberty Property Trust. “We believe our depth of experience in development and property management is well-tailored to these sophisticated markets.”

The Republic Property Trust acquisition is expected to be finalized on or about Oct. 4, after a previously announced meeting of the REITs’ shareholders is held. Liberty is preparing its own shareholders for the possibility of a one-time charge to its net income related to the acquisition. It says the cost of the Republic transaction, including the merger consideration and related transaction expenses, may exceed the purchase price that the joint venture will pay for the Republic properties.

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