Deal will enable REIT to enter new markets, including Las Vegas and Northern California.
Lodging REIT CEO Justin Knight says 2016 is off to a solid start.
First-quarter earnings present positive outlook, analysts say.
Shopping center REIT approaching the 20th anniversary of going public.
Transaction includes spinoff of Houston assets into new publicly traded REIT.
Thomas Baltimore, Jr. is leaving RLJ Lodging Trust to become president and CEO of Hilton's planned REIT.
Hotel REIT CEO Monty Bennett says market valuations hindering lodging REIT transactions.
Merged company would continue to focus exclusively on Marriott and Hilton brands following $1.3 billion transaction.
REIT sees technology driving more investment into out-of-home advertising.
Merged company will represent more than 20 percent of Mortgage REIT industry by market cap.