GE Capital to purchase retail REIT for $2.1 billion

Stamford, Conn.-based GE Capital, through its Commercial Equipment Financing business, has agreed to purchase Scottsdale, Ariz.-based retail REIT Franchise Finance Corporation of America (FFCA) for $2.1 billion.

Common shareholders of FFCA will receive $25 in cash for each share held, and the company will continue to pay its regular quarterly dividends until the merger is finalized. The company will then operate as FFCA, a division of GE Capital Commercial Equipment Financing. Management at GE Capital said the merger will leverage the company's position in franchise financing.

CapitalThinking receives $9 million in financing

At a time when investors are playing tight with venture capital funds, New York-based CapitalThinking, a Web-based financial services and applications company, has received a third round of venture capital financing totaling $9 million. Investing companies include Bessemer Venture Partners, RRE Ventures, Aberdare Ventures, iStar Financial, ABP Investments U.S. and the New York City Investment Fund.

CapitalThinking, led by CEO Heather Shively and Chairman Charles Ferguson, provides e-finance solutions to the commercial real estate finance industry. The company's Bluewire enterprise platform is designed to increase the speed and efficiency of processing and managing financial assets in commercial real estate.

Newmark and JGT merge to form N.J.-based company

The commercial real estate services firm Newmark & Co. Real Estate, Rutherford, N.J., has merged with Woodbridge, N.J.-based Jacobson, Goldfarb & Tanzman to form Newmark JGT of New Jersey.

Operations will continue at both the Rutherford and Woodbridge offices. Stan Simon, who was JGT's managing principal, will be CEO of the new entity. Seena Stein, who previously headed up Newmark, will be a principal in the new company.

Deutsche Banc finances Western U.S. properties

In loans ranging from $3 million to $41 million, New York-based Deutsche Banc Mortgage Capital recently financed more than $200 million in commercial real estate loans in California, Nevada and Arizona.

The loans were used to finance and refinance office, retail and multifamily properties. Some of the bigger transactions include $40.7 million for the Peaks at Papago Park apartments in Phoenix, $30 million for the Fig Garden Village retail center in Fresno, Calif., and $25.5 million for Copper Canyon apartments in Las Vegas.

Lend Lease Real Estate buys hotel in Lone Star State

For an undisclosed price, Atlanta-based Lend Lease Real Estate Investments has acquired the Marriott at the Capitol in Austin, Texas. The hotel was bought on behalf of Lend Lease's Value Enhancement Fund IV, a real estate opportunity fund for institutional investors, from USAA Real Estate Limited Partnership.

First-Quarter Ranking of CMBS Lead- and Co-Managers*

Full credit to lead- and co-managers
Issuance ($Mil.)
No. of
Share (%)**
1. Morgan Stanley 5,960.4 9 35.9
2. Deutsche Bank 4,750.5 7 28.6
3. Salomon Smith Barney 3,918.5 5 23.6
4. Credit Suisse First Boston 3,304.0 5 19.9
5. Goldman Sachs 3,232.0 5 19.5
6. J.P. Morgan Chase 2,600.3 5 15.7
7. Bear Stearns 2,106.3 5 12.7
8. Lehman Brothers 2,080.8 3 12.5
9. First Union 2,044.4 3 12.3
10. Merrill Lynch 1,681.1 4 10.1
*A lead manager is the head underwriter, and a co-manager is a subordinate underwriter who assists the lead or head underwriter in the transaction.
**Market share based upon total amount issued by 28 leading managers.
Source: Commercial Mortgage Alert

The Marriott in downtown Austin is a Class-A hotel with 365 rooms, 14,750 sq. ft. of meeting space and a 9,600 sq. ft. ballroom. The Value Enhancement Fund IV is the fourth in a series of real estate investment funds designed to take advantage of the inefficiencies at varying stages in the real estate cycle.

Newman Financial Services acquires Paramount Financial

In a move to further strengthen its standing in the affordable housing market, Denver-based Newman Financial Services has acquired the assets of Granville, Ohio-based Paramount Financial Group. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Newman Financial, a subsidiary of GMAC Commercial Holding Corp., is an investment banking firm specializing in real estate, asset-backed and private-equity financing. Paramount is a real estate investment company specializing in affordable housing funds that provide equity in developments for low-income housing and historic renovation tax credits.

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