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Rail News: M&A

Fortress Investment Group to acquire Florida East Coast through $3.5 billion transaction


It won’t be long before Fortress Investment Group L.L.C. takes ownership of a second rail property. Today, Florida East Coast Industries Inc. (FECI) — owner of the 351-mile Florida East Coast Railway — announced it entered into a merger agreement with certain private equity funds managed by Fortress affiliates under which the firm will acquire FECI through a transaction totaling about $3.5 billion.

Under the agreement, FECI will pay stockholders a special dividend of $21.50 per share in cash and shareholders will receive $62.50 in cash for each share of FECI common stock per the merger transaction, which has been approved by FECI’s board. Pending customary closing conditions, including regulatory and shareholders’ approvals, the transaction is expected to close in the third quarter. FECI — which also owns commercial real estate firm Flagler Development Group — then will become a privately held company.

“Our focus has always been about maximizing shareholder value,” said FECI Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Adolfo Henriques in a prepared statement. “We look forward to working together with Fortress to continue to build our businesses.”

FECI retained Morgan Stanley as financial advisor and Greenberg Traurig as legal advisor. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom L.LP. served as Fortress’ legal advisor.

In February, Fortress acquired RailAmerica Inc., which owns and operates 42 regionals and short lines in the United States and Canada.

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More News from 5/8/2007