We provide evidence on the information content of the method of payment in mergers by examining shareholder returns in a sample of REIT mergers over the period 1994–1998. When the target firm is publicly held, we find that transactions are always stock-financed, and that acquiring firm shareholders sustain small negative returns around the announcement date. When the target is privately held, cash financing, mixed (stock and cash) financing, and placement of blocks of acquirer stock with target owners are more prevalent. Acquirer returns are positive in stock-financed mergers when the target is private, which is consistent with both the information signaling and monitoring by blockholders hypotheses. Further analysis supports the information signaling hypothesis as the dominant explanation. The effects of other explanatory variables are similar whether the target is public or private. Most significantly, acquiring shareholder returns are negatively related to the acquirer's size, but positively related to the acquirer's use of the UPREIT organizational structure. The positive wealth effects of the UPREIT structure are not fully explained as the capitalization of tax benefits.