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Real estate corporation has new owner Print E-mail
Saturday, 02 September 2006

A unit of Babcock & Brown Ltd., Australia's second-largest investment bank, has agreed to buy the real estate investment trust for $316 million to add Carolinas and Virginia apartments.

Payne said BNP will operate as a Babcock subsidiary, and its 35-person local headquarters team will remain in place.

"In essence, we traded thousands of shareholders for one," he said Friday. "There will be no changes in people; residents won't notice anything."

BNP expects to grow fast with the new owner, Payne said.

BNP owns and operates 32 apartment complexes with 8,180 units and is a general partner in three others with 713 units.

In the Charlotte area, its eight apartment communities range from the Fairington on Colony Road to Carriage Club in Mooresville.

Babcock & Brown Real Estate Investments LLC will acquire all of BNP's common stock for $24 a share in cash, BNP said Thursday. That's 39 percent more than BNP's closing share price of $17.24 Wednesday. The total purchase price is $766 million, including $450 million in existing BNP debt, the company said.

When the deal was announced Thursday, BNP shares rose $6.42, or 37 percent, to $23.66 -- an all-time high and the biggest one-day gain -- on the American Stock Exchange. The stock closed Friday at $23.65.

Babcock is "focusing in the high-job-growth Sunbelt states," said Dan Brickman, head of U.S. real estate for the company.

The purchase, which must be approved by BNP shareholders, likely will be completed in the fourth quarter.

BNP also owns 40 properties in North Carolina and Virginia that are leased to Rocky Mount-based Boddie-Noell Enterprises Inc., which operates 39 of them as Hardee's restaurants and one as a BBQ and Ribs Co.

Edwina Baniqued



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