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MEMPHIS-Mid-America Apartment Communities, based here, and Colonial Properties Trust said Monday that they’ve agreed to merge, with MAA paying about $2.2 billion in stock to acquire its Birmingham, AL-based multifamily competitor. The combined company will control approximately 85,000 apartments at 285 properties across both major and secondary markets in the Sunbelt, and will trade as an UPREIT under the MAA name.

The all-stock merger is intended to be a tax-free transaction, creating a company with a pro forma equity market capitalization of approximately $5.1 billion and a total market cap of $8.6 billion. MAA, whose shareholders will own about 56% of the combined company, and Colonial expect the transaction to close during the third quarter, according to a release.

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