Equity Residential (EQR) and AvalonBay Communities (AVB) entered into an agreement with Lehman Brothers Holdings, acquiring the assets and liabilities of Archstone Enterprise for $16 billion.

Equity Residential will acquire 60% while AvalonBay will acquire 40%. The transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of 2013.

The acquisition includes a vast portfolio of high-quality apartment properties in major markets throughout the nation.

Equity Residential will acquire 78 operating properties, consisting of 23,110 apartment units.

"Archstone's assets will fit perfectly into the Equity Residential portfolio, further improve the overall quality of our assets and add scale to our operating platform in our core markets," said president and CEO David J. Neithercut of Equity Residential. 

He added, "Furthermore, by funding much of this acquisition with proceeds from the sale of assets in our non-core, exit markets, we are accelerating the completion of the total transformation of our portfolio. As a result, Equity Residential's future earnings and shareholder return will be derived from the highest quality assets in the nation's high-barrier, high-growth coastal markets."