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Why Shares of Hersha Hospitality Trust Jumped Today

By Jordan Wathen - Feb 4, 2016 at 10:25AM

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The REIT is rotating out of New York City to acquire properties in the nation's capital, repay debt, and repurchase stock.

What: Shares of Hersha Hospitality Trust (HT -1.12%) are up by more than 16% as of 11 a.m. EST as the company announced that it reached a deal to sell seven Manhattan properties.

So what: The Cindat Manhattan Hotel Portfolio, a joint venture, will acquire seven of Hersha Hospitality's properties in exchange for cash and a 30% stake in the JV. In all, the seven properties are valued at $543.5 million. Hersha Hospitality Trust will remain a 30% stake in the JV and continue to manage the hotels.

The deal, which includes 1,087 rooms valued at $526,000 per "key," is expected to further diversify Hersha's performance away from the New York City market. The press release suggests that the company's EBITDA exposure to New York City will fall from approximately 43% in 2015 to 25% in 2016. Furthermore, the transaction will enable the company to fund new investments in Washington, D.C., and California, while retiring debt and repurchasing shares.

Now what: Hersha Hospitality Trust has already delivered on its promise to diversify, announcing a $50 million acquisition of the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown in Washington, D.C., for $50 million, in addition to a $106.5 million purchase of the Hilton Garden Inn M Street.It expects the joint venture transaction to close in the first quarter of 2016, after completion of the buyer's due diligence.

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