W.P. Carey to become REIT

February 21, 2012 05:30PM

New York-based investment management firm W.P. Carey & Co. is set to change its official status to a real estate investment trust, it announced today, and will acquire Corporate Property Associates 15, a non-traded REIT that it manages.

Following the acquisition, W. P. Carey is expected to have a total equity market capitalization of approximately $3 billion, total market capitalization of $5 billion and a portfolio of 43 million square feet of corporate real estate completely leased to 135 companies around the world, according to a statement from the company.

W. P. Carey president and CEO Trevor Bond said: “We believe that the proposed merger and REIT conversion are in the best interests of both W. P. Carey and CPA 15 investors. In addition to providing liquidity for CPA 15 investors, this transaction will enhance our strength and flexibility, with a larger balance sheet and more diversified portfolio.”

The move to become a REIT, which still requires approval by the company’s shareholders, was in the works long before the death, in January, of William Polk Carey, who founded the firm.

As previously reported, Carey, whose company paid $225 million for 21 floors at the New York Times Building at 620 Eighth Avenue under a sale-leaseback arrangement in 2009, died last month in West Palm Beach. — Katherine Clarke