Warehouse giant AMB Property Corp. (AMB) and larger rival ProLogis (PLD) agreed to combine in an all-stock merger of equals, the biggest deal in years involving publicly traded real-estate companies.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the real-estate investment trusts were close to agreeing to a deal, citing people familiar with the matter. The companies said Monday their combination will result in an entity with a total market capitalization of more than $24 billion.

Under the terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the second quarter, each ProLogis common share will be converted into 0.4464 of a newly issued AMB share. The company will be named ProLogis and trade under symbol PLD.

ProLogis closed Friday at $15.21, while AMB closed at $32.93. Neither was active premarket. They are up 12% and 17%, respectively, in the past three months.

Merger-and-acquisition activity has been picking up in the real-estate sector, in part because of broad investor demand for income-producing property like office buildings, shopping malls, apartments and warehouses. In addition REITs have benefited from access to the public markets. Last month, health-care REIT HCP said it would buy the real-estate assets of nursing-home chain HCR ManorCare Inc. for $6.1 billion.

The combined portfolio encompasses about 600 million square feet of facilities in 22 countries.

AMB Chief Executive Hamid R. Moghadam and Walter C. Rakowich, his counterpart at ProLogis, will serve as co-CEOs through the end of next year, at which time Rakowich will retire and Moghadam will take the helm of the combined company. Moghadam will also serve as the combined company's chairman.

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