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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Jul. 30, 201412:00 PM EST

AmREIT declines Regency Centers' offer

by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

AmREIT Inc. Tuesday rejected Jacksonville-based Regency Centers Corp.’s unsolicited offer to buy the company for $22 a share.

However, Houston-based AmREIT said its board of directors will “explore strategic alternatives to enhance stockholder value,” indicating it could be open to a higher offer.

Regency did not publicly respond Tuesday to AmREIT’s late afternoon announcement.

Regency announced its offer to buy AmREIT three weeks ago after AmREIT officials refused to negotiate a possible deal.

Regency operates 332 shopping centers around the company, and Regency officials think the much smaller AmREIT would be a good fit for the company. AmREIT operates 33 retail properties focused in high-growth areas of Texas and Atlanta.

Investors have been anticipating a higher offer coming in for AmREIT, with its stock trading above $22 since Regency publicized its offer to buy the company. The stock closed at $23.32 Tuesday, before AmREIT’s announcement.

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