Essex Property Trust, Inc. (NYSE: ESS) and BRE Properties (NYSE: BRE) have announced today a definitive agreement under which BRE Properties will combine with Essex, creating the only publicly traded West Coast pure play multifamily REIT, as detailed in the press release below issued by the companies. The combined company is expected to have a pro forma equity market capitalization of approximately $10.4 billion and a total market capitalization of approximately $15.4 billion. The transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of 2014. Latham & Watkins LLP is advising BRE Properties in the transaction with a corporate team led by partners John Newell in San Francisco and William Cernius in Orange County, with associates: David Wheeler in Los Angeles; Michael Young, John Raney, Jeffrey Holgate, Brett Urig, Darren Guttenberg, Aneta Ferguson and Ashley Flor in Orange County; William Hackett in San Francisco; and Anitha Anne in Silicon Valley.  Advice has also been provided on real estate matters by Orange County partner David Meckler and associate Alex Johnson; on environmental matters by Orange County partner Christopher Norton and associate Charles Anthony; on tax matters by partners Michael Brody and Ana O’Brien with associate Tali Weiss in Los Angeles; on employee benefits and compensation matters by Los Angeles partner Jim Barrall, with counsel Scott Thompson and associate Julie Crisp in San Francisco; and on finance matters by partners Glen Collyer  and Kimberly Posin and with associate Josh Holt in Los Angeles.