Alesco Financial Trust, a Philadelphia-based specialty finance real estate investment trust, has agreed to merge with Sunset Financial Resources, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based specialty finance REIT.Sunset will issue 1.26 shares of its stock for each Alesco share. The REITs said the merged company will pursue Alesco's strategy of focusing on trust preferred securities issued by banks and insurance companies, middle-market loans, and residential mortgage-backed securities. Alesco is managed by Cohen Brothers Management LLC, Philadelphia. Sunset has entered into an interim management agreement with Cohen Brothers that allows the REIT to convert its existing assets into assets consistent with the investment strategy of the merged companies. Alesco is currently not publicly traded, while Sunset trades on the New York Stock Exchange. Based on Sunset's April 27 closing price of $8.85 per share, each Alesco share is valued at $11.15 per share.

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