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NEW: Austin’s Forestar Group being sold in $605 million deal

Austin-based Forestar Group has agreed to be acquired by Starwood Capital group in a deal worth about $605 million, according to the companies.

Connecticut-based Starwood has agreed to pay $14.25 per share for all outstanding shares of Forestar Group’s common stock, the companies said, which would be a roughly 8 percent premium over Forestar Group’s average share price over the past three months, according to a news release.

The transaction still requires approval of Forestar Group’s shareholders. The company’s board expects the deal to be completed in the third quarter of the year, according to a company news release.

Forestar Group was spun off from the former Temple-Inland Inc. in 2007, and through the years has operated in real estate, oil and gas and other natural resources. It currently operates largely as a residential and mixed-use real estate development company.

The company has been reshaping itself since 2015, when a group of key investors said Forestar needed to make changes in both its management strategy and in its leadership. In September 2015, the company named Phil Weber as its new chief executive officer.

Forestar Group announced in February that it had reached a deal to sell off substantially all of its remaining oil and gas assets for $85.6 million, continuing its divestiture of holdings outside its main residential and mixed-use development portfolio. The company in 2016 sold the Radisson Hotel and Suites in downtown Austin in a $130 million deal.

“Over the past 18 months Forestar has significantly reduced costs and outstanding debt, exited non-core assets and focused on its core community development business. While executing these key initiatives, the board and management have been evaluating longer term strategic alternatives,” Forestar Group chairman James Rubright said in a written statement. “After conducting a thorough review assisted by highly experienced financial and legal advisors, the Board believes that engaging in the transaction with Starwood is the best option to maximize stockholder value.”

In 2016, Forestar Group reported net income of $58.6 million, or $1.38 per share, on revenue of $218.5 million. As of the end of 2016, the company said it owned directly or through joint ventures interests in 50 residential and mixed-use development projects in 10 states.

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