Countering Blackstone's proposal to acquire Equity Office Properties Trust, Chicago, at $48.50 per share (and the assumption of debt), a group that includes Vornado Realty has made an offer that values Equity Office shares at $52 per share.Vornado, a Paramus, N.J.-based office real estate investment trust, has formed a partnership with Starwood Capital and Walton Street. Vornado said in a release that the $52 would be payable 60% in cash and 40% in Vornado shares. After the deal closes, Vornado said it intends to retain about half of Equity Office's assets in major markets on the East and West Coasts. The other two partners would acquire the rest of Equity Office's assets. Equity Office, the largest REIT by market capitalization, said it will consider the proposal but that its board of trustees has not changed its previous recommendation on the Blackstone buyout for $36 billion. Equity Office's shareholders are slated to meet Feb. 5 to vote on the Blackstone acquisition. The REIT can be found online at http://www.equityoffice.com.

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