Office, rental apartments, retail, lodging, healthcare, mortgage and even timber are qualified real estate investment trusts. With changes in the tax rates, a number of other operating businesses are evaluating the benefits of conversion to a REIT status.
As a real estate investment trust, a company is allowed to distribute 90% of its taxable income to its shareholders and is subject to lower taxes.
Next year, the newest entrant to the world of REITs might be a prominent business who operates in outdoor advertising. Lamar Advertising Company, established in 1902, is one of the largest outdoor advertising companies in the U.S. based on the number of displays.
Lamar sells advertising on billboards, buses, shelters, benches and logo plates. As of December 31, 2011, Lamar owned and operated over 143,000 billboard advertising displays in 44 states, Canada and Puerto Rico.
Lamar who is a publicly traded company has announced this summer, that it is considering converting to a REIT. In September, shares of Lamar rose to their highest level in more than year as an analyst lifted his price target for the billboard and outdoor advertising company likelihood that its will convert to a real estate investment trust.
American Tower, the number One operator of cell phone towers has announced it plans to convert to a REIT in January. Industry leaders believe that Crown Castle, a company whose core business is renting space on its cell towers will join American Tower in conversion to a REIT.
This summer, document storage company Iron Mountain, which runs more than 900 facilities in 35 countries, said it looking to convert into a REIT. Data center operator Equinix, operator of 99 data centers, where equipment, space and bandwidth are available to rent has also announced it might join in the conversion process of operating as a REIT.