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CLEARWATER, FL-Locally based American Land Lease Inc. has signed a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by Chicago-based private equity firm Green Courte Partners LLC for $14.20 per share, or $438 million. Calls to both parties were not returned on Wednesday. The deal will presumably include 10,000 homes in 25 retirement communities American Land developed, owns and manages. The publicly traded REIT’s website lists that 17 of those active adult communities are located in Florida, seven in Arizona and one in Alabama.

“After a thorough year long review of strategic alternatives, the board concluded that this transaction was in the best interests of our shareholders, customers and team members,” says Terry Considine, American Land’s chairman and CEO, in a release.

The acquisition, which has been approved by the board of directors of American Land, includes assumption of debt and preferred stock and includes an entitlement for limited partners of Asset Investors Operating Partnership LP, American Land’s operating partnership, to receive $14.20 for each of their units. The deal is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2009.

“We are very excited to add American Land Lease’s professional management team and high-quality manufactured housing community investments to our existing business,” said Randy Rowe, chairman of Green Courte. “This combination doubles the size of our portfolio and unites the strengths of the Manufactured Housing Institute’s 2007 and 2008 Community Operators of the Year.”

The transaction has been aggressively priced, according to an equity research report released by global financial services provider Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. The firm estimates that American Land’s business is being valued at a 7% cap rate. “American Land, we feel, has a quality stabilized land lease portfolio, sustainable long-term cash flows,” says the report. “The typical home owner/land lessee is 55 and up, and a responsible, quality underlying credit, in our view. Additionally, we find the ANL development pipeline is a valuable long-term asset that can be utilized.”

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