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SAN FRANCISCO-Mission West Properties Inc. said Monday it has been authorized by its board of directors to purchase up to $5 million of its common stock on the open market over the next 12 months. The Cupertino, CA-based R&D REIT has approximately 19.8 million common shares outstanding. In early afternoon trading Monday stock in the company’s was trading in the low-to-mid $7 range, a little less than $2 above its 52-week low of $5.69 and approximately $4 below its 52-week high of $12.45.

Mission West owns and operates eight million square feet in 111 buildings located primarily in the Silicon Valley, which borders the south end of San Francisco Bay. The total includes 854,000 square feet in 16 buildings that are in the process of being rezoned for residential development.

Last month , the company closed on a $15-million mortgage loan from Hartford Life Insurance Co., Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Co. and Hartford Life and Annuity Insurance Co. The loan was secured by 20 properties totaling 1.6 million square feet. It also reported its third quarter results , which included a 180 basis point jump in its occupancy rate to 66.7% and a 15% decline in the average monthly rental rate per square foot.

Last week, the company sold two R&D buildings in Morgan Hill, CA in which it held a 50% stake. The two buildings, which total 311,000 square feet, sold $65 million.

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