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Net-lease REITs have been attracting investors as tenants pick up most of the operating costs and the properties are leased for long periods, performing like a high-dividend bond.
ARCP, which has been making deals to expand in the net lease sector, said the Cole acquisition would increase the size of its portfolio to 3,732 properties.
(Read more: REITs: Second look)
Realty Income Corp., the current market leader had a portfolio of 3,013 properties as of December, according to regulatory filings.
American Realty said it would offer 1.0929 of its shares or $13.82 in cash for each Cole share.
(Read more: Cramer: Own Powerhouse Bank or Superstar REIT?)
The stock offer is valued at $14.59 per Cole share, representing a premium of 14 percent to Cole's Tuesday close.
(Read more: More pain to come for Singapore REITs?)
Shares of both Cole and American Capital were unchanged before the bell.
ARCP said it had secured $2.75 billion in financing from Barclays for the deal, which is expected to close in the first half of 2014.
— By Reuters