Baltimore firm files shareholder lawsuit against REIT merger

A Baltimore law firm said Monday that it filed a shareholder lawsuit against Cole Real Estate Investments Inc., claiming that the Phoenix-based company agreed to sell itself for less than its value.

Cole agreed last month to be acquired by American Realty Capital Properties Inc. of New York in an $11.2 billion deal. Cole had rejected an earlier offer to be acquired by American Realty. Law firm Murphy, Falcon & Murphy filed a lawsuit on behalf of Cole investors claiming that — contrary to shareholders' interests — the sale price is too low and the deal guarantees hefty payments to a few people, including Cole's founder and executive chairman. Cole and American Realty, real estate investment trusts, are incorporated in Maryland.

Aaron Halfacre, Cole's head of strategic relationships, said the company doesn't comment on ongoing litigation.

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