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Group launches $4.4 billion bid for Primaris REIT

TORONTO (AP) -- An investment group led by KingSett Capital and several Canadian pension funds is proposing a $4.4 billion takeover of Primaris Retail Real Estate Investment Trust, one of Canada's largest shopping mall operators.

In a related transaction, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust, the country's largest operator of shopping malls, said Wednesday it has conditionally agreed to buy five regional malls and three other shopping centers currently owned by Toronto-based Primaris.

KingSett said Wednesday the offer represents a 12. 8 percent premium to Tuesday's closing price of $23.04 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Toronto-based Primaris hasn't responded to requests for comment.

KingSett is a private real-estate investment firm working with the Ontario Pension Board and two other asset managers based in Quebec and Alberta.