Regency Centers Stockholders OK Merger with Equity One

The new company will become the largest shopping center REIT in the U.S.
Hap Stein, Chairman & CEO of Regency Centers
Hap Stein, Chairman & CEO of Regency Centers

Jacksonville, Fla. & New York—Get the party balloons ready, because the largest U.S. shopping center REIT by equity value is almost here. At a special meeting on Friday, Regency Centers Corp. stockholders approved the company’s merger with Equity One, Regency has announced.

As previously reported, the post-merger company, which will retain the Regency name and its NYSE symbol (REG), will have an equity value of $15.6 billion. The merger is expected to close Wednesday.

On a pro forma basis, Regency stockholders are expected to own about 62 percent of the combined company’s common stock, and former Equity One stockholders are expected to own the remaining approximately 38 percent.

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC is acting as financial advisor and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is acting as legal advisor to Regency in connection with the merger.

Regency’s portfolio of 307 retail properties totals more than 42.1 million square feet, is primarily grocery-anchored, and is focused in affluent and infill trade areas in attractive metro areas. Further, Regency has developed 223 shopping centers since 2000, representing an investment at completion of more than $3 billion.

David Lukes, President & CEO of Equity One
David Lukes, President & CEO of Equity One

Equity One has 112 operating properties totaling 15 million square feet of retail and in addition has $250 million of redevelopment in progress. Its portfolio is focused on urban communities and concentrated in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and South Florida.

The merger will bring multiple benefits for Regency, Michael Lagazo, senior advisor, retail, for SVN Asset Advisory Group in San Diego, ‬told Commercial Property Executive, including enhanced concentration in desirable markets with high barriers to entry, such as Northern and Southern California, the Northeast, Atlanta, Southeast Florida, New York and the Washington, D.C., corridor.

Further, because the performance of a publicly traded REIT like Regency is measured by funds from operations, and greater earnings as well as eliminating redundant expenses at the asset level improves FFO, acquiring Equity improves Regency’s shareholder value at a greater rate than increasing rental income by expanding gross leasable area.

Regency typically invests in shopping centers anchored by top national grocers such as Kroger, Albertsons and Publix and having an average occupancy rate of 95.8 percent, Lagazo added, while Equity One has maintained similar occupancy levels at their properties.