Shares of real estate investment trust (REIT) QTS Realty (QTS) took off at the open on June 7, rising by as much as 22% in the first 30 minutes of the trading day. That gain is likely to be pretty sticky, too, given that it's tied to a takeover offer from Blackstone (BX 0.04%).
QTS, one of the smaller players in the data center space, announced before the market opened today that it had agreed to be acquired by Blackstone for $78 per share in cash. The total deal, including the assumption of debt, is valued at approximately $10 billion. The offer price represents a roughly 21% premium to where QTS' stock closed on the last trading day before the news was released. This sale essentially locks in some gains for shareholders. Blackstone, meanwhile, is clearly looking to bulk up its ability to play in what is still a fast-growing, though competitive, property niche.
Since this is an all-cash deal, QTS investors really have only two choices right now. They can sit tight and wait until the acquisition closes to collect their cash, or they can sell now, potentially missing out on dividends and incurring trading costs, and capture the quick share price gain. That money could then be put to work in another data center REIT or reallocated elsewhere. That said, if you don't have a better use for the funds right now, sitting tight might actually be a good option, since it is possible, though perhaps not probable, that a higher offer will come along, given the competitiveness of the data center sector. QTS, for its part, has 40 days to find a better deal.
Blackstone expects to close this acquisition in the "second half." Given that it's already early June, and there's a 40-day window for QTS to negotiate with other companies, it's highly likely that this deal doesn't close for several months -- pushing the consummation toward, or into, the fourth quarter. With markets near all-time highs, it might not be so bad for investors to have their money tied up in QTS and the contracted sales price of $78 per share. That said, if you know you want to own a data center REIT, now is the time to start looking at the other public options.