Equity Office Properties Trust, which agreed to be bought by Blackstone Group in November, said on Monday its board agreed to meet with a
Vornado Realty Trust investor group that submitted a rival bid last week and give them information.
Equity Office, the top U.S. office landlord, has entered discussions with the Vornado group, which includes Starwood Capital Group Global and Walton Street Capital, and has asked
them to submit a definitive proposal by Jan. 31.
Blackstone, a New York-based private equity firm, agreed to buy Equity Office for $48.50 a share in cash, or $20 billion excluding debt.
Vornado submitted an offer last week of stock and cash worth $52 a share, or $21.6 billion, setting off a potential takeover battle.
"As we have said, Blackstone's all cash deal can close three days after a shareholder vote on Feb. 5," a Blackstone spokeswoman said. "Equity Office's board of directors has not changed its recommendation that shareholders vote in favor of our deal."