PropertyEU - March 19, 2008
A consortium of Deutsche Bank's RREEF funds, Milan-based Pirelli Real Estate, Generali and the Borletti Group has signed a binding agreement with Arcandor (former KarstadtQuelle) to acquire a 49% stake in Arcandor's Highstreet portfolio. Goldman Sachs' Whitehall Funds retains its remaining 51% interest in the German department store portfolio.
Italian insurance giant Generali has joined the RREEF-led consortium and has a 22.34% stake in the investment via its SICAV fund, Generali Real Estate Fund (GREF). Pirelli RE has a 24.66% share of the investment, while RREEF has approximately 49% and Borletti around 4%. Market rumours said that the consortium is paying more than €500mln in cash for Highstreet, but the price could be adjusted with the closing of the deal expected by the end of May. The consortium is also assuming €3.5 bn of debt secured against Highstreet’s properties.
The transaction values the entire portfolio, consisting of 164 properties and a total leasable area of 2.1 million m2, at €4.56bn. The consortium has also signed a binding agreement with Whitehall for a joint control and joint management of Highstreet. Pirelli RE will act as asset manager for the portfolio, jointly with Whitehall. The transaction is subject to regulatory and antitrust approval, as well as obtaining consent from existing lenders in connection with the change of control of the borrowers.
In a separate statement, Arcandor said that the total value of the Highstreet deal and a separate contractual agreement with the previous joint venture partner Whitehall comes to about €800mln. The Essen-based company will lease back the properties from the new owners.
Arcandor set up the Highstreet investment company two years ago and sold a majority stake to Goldman Sachs for a cash payment of €3.7bn. In December it announced it had signed a letter of intent with the RREEF-led consortium regarding the sale of the portfolio. The German retail group also said it was working together with joint venture 'to create a unique European department store portfolio'. Arcandor added it was seeking to buy a stake of up to 25% of the Italian department store chains La Rinascente and the French Printemps, in exchange for a 25% interest in its premium segment to be transferred to the consortium.
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