updated 12/22/2005 9:48:39 AM ET 2005-12-22T14:48:39

General Electric Co.’s real-estate unit has agreed to buy commercial real-estate investment trust Arden Realty Inc. for about $3.2 billion in cash.

As part of the deal, Trizec Properties Inc. will purchase 13 of Arden’s Southern California properties, with 4.1 million square feet of space, for about $1.63 billion, the companies said Thursday.

GE Real Estate is paying stockholders $45.25 for each Arden share, a 3.7 percent discount to its Wednesday closing price of $46.99. Shares of Arden slipped $1.99, or 4.2 percent, to $45 during pre-market activity. The stock was trading around $38 in late September when speculation arose that the real-estate investment trust might be for sale.

The transaction also includes the assumption of about $1.6 billion in debt, bringing the overall acquisition value to about $4.8 billion, the companies said. The deal is expected to close by the end of the first quarter.

In a separate statement, Trizec, a Chicago-based owner of office properties, said acquiring Arden’s properties will nearly double its real estate in Southern California to more than 8.6 million square feet.

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