04/12/2013 07:18 EDT | Updated 06/12/2013 05:12 EDT

Plazacorp poised to acquire KEYreit after Huntingdon bows out of bidding

TORONTO - Huntingdon Capital Corp. (TSX:HNT) has bowed out of the contest to acquire KEYreit (TSX: KRE.UN) and says it wishes its New Brunswick-based rival well.

Plazacorp (TSX:PLZ) as offered a combination of shares and cash that value KEYreit's equity at about $124 million, or about $8.35 per unit — about 19 per cent above Huntingdon's initial all-cash offer of $7 per KEYreit unit.

Huntingdon put the Toronto-based real estate trust's units in play in January when it announced plans to buy up 100 per cent of KEYreit's units.

Plazacorp Retail Properties of Fredericton (TSX:PLZ) entered the contest in March with a friendly deal for Toronto-based KEYreit.

The rival suitors raised their initial bids last week and Huntingdon of Richmond, B.C., near Vancouver said late Thursday it will let its offer expire.

Huntingdon's statement didn't say what it would do with the KEYreit units it owned before launching its takeover effort.

"We are pleased with the outcome of this process, and that our efforts have helped create value for the respective owners of both Huntingdon and KEYreit," said Huntingdon president and CEO Zachary George.

"We view Plazacorp as best-in-class operators who will be good stewards of the KEYreit portfolio. We wish them continued success as they work to close their proposed transaction."