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NEW YORK CITY-Equity Residential and AvalonBay Communities Inc. announced separately late Monday that they’re launching sales of common stock to help fund their acquisition of rival Archstone Enterprise LP, the apartment giant that’s the single largest asset owned by locally based Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. As reported on GlobeSt.com yesterday, the deal is worth an aggregate of $16 billion, including the assumption of $9.5 billion in debt.

Headquartered in Chicago, Equity says it intends to offer about 19 million common shares and will give underwriters an option to purchase up to 2.85 million more. AvalonBay, based in Arlington, VA, says it’s issuing 14.5 million shares of stock with an option for 2.175 million additional shares to cover over-allotments. Pricing on the shares was not available as of early Tuesday afternoon. Should the Archstone deal for assets that include more than 45,000 apartment units fail to close, both multifamily REITs will use the proceeds from the stock sales for working capital and general corporate purposes.

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