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CENTURY CITY, CA-Colony Financial Inc. has set the stock price at $20 per share for the IPO of a new REIT that will buy distressed assets, including performing and nonperforming loans. The previously announced REIT, which will be managed by a subsidiary of Thomas Barrack Jr.’s Colony Capital, anticipates gross proceeds of $255 million, assuming that underwriters do not exercise their overallotment option. In addition to the 12.5 million shares, Colony has granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 1,875,000 shares at the initial public offering price.

The new REIT’s shares will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CLNY. The company says that, concurrent, with the completion of the initial public offering, it will complete a private placement of an aggregate of 250,000 shares of common stock to certain executive officers of the company and officers of Colony Capital LLC and its affiliates at the same $20 per share.

The new REIT plans to use the proceeds from the offerings to acquire and originate commercial mortgage loans, including performing, sub-performing and nonperforming loans, other commercial real estate-related debt, CMBS, REO, properties and other real estate-related debt.

With Barrack and his Colony Capital behind it, Colony Financial arrives with a broad and deep background in acquiring distressed assets. Barrack founded privately held Colony Capital LLC in 1991 as one of the pioneers in buying distressed assets from the Resolution Trust Corp., the federal agency that was formed to dispose of the assets of failed savings and loans. Later, Colony expanded to Europe and Asia, growing to 14 offices in 10 countries.

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