Bidders in US malls battle seek backing of sovereign wealth funds
By Henny Sender in New York 2010-03-15

The rival bidders for General Growth Properties, the bankrupt owner of some of the most high-profile shopping malls in the US, are seeking financial support from sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East and Asia, according to people familiar with the matter.

The talks between the bidders and the foreign investors remain in the early stages but highlight the growing risk appetite of the world’s leading SWFs as well as their interest in finding bargains in the beleaguered US commercial property market.

With Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management vying for control of GGP’s portfolio of 200 malls, “several of the larger sovereign funds are working with both parties,” said Guy Metcalfe, head of real estate investment banking for Morgan Stanley.

The GGP battle began this year when Simon made a $10bn offer for the company. GGP’s board rejected that and put together a recapitalisation plan under which the mall owner would receive about $6.5bn in additional capital from Brookfield, Fairholme Capital Management and Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square hedge fund.

Simon has been talking to SWFs such as the Qatar Investment Authority about contributing to its bid, people familiar with the matter said. Blackstone is also expected to join forces with Simon and may turn to investors such as the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority for additional financial firepower.

Brookfield is likely to raise money for the deal from at least some of the SWFs that have invested in its $5.5bn distressed real estate opportunity fund, which was set up for opportunities such as GGP, the people familiar with the matter say.

The distressed fund’s investors – each of which contributed a minimum of $500m – include China Investment Corporation, the Australian Fund for the Future, Government Investment Corp of Singapore and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, a quasi-SWF. CIC has signed a separate confidentiality agreement, according to people close to the matter, indicating it might join a GPP bid.

Mr Metcalfe said the potential involvement of additional investors reflected the “size of the deal and the quality of the assets”. He said: “The younger funds [such as CIC and the Kuwait Investment Authority] especially are under-allocated to real estate and have no performance or legacy issues. It is a unique opportunity.”

Simon, Brookfield, CIC, GIC and QIA declined to comment.

主权基金加入美国购物中心竞购战
英国《金融时报》 汉妮•桑德尔 纽约报道 2010-03-15

知情人士透露,美国General Growth Properties公司(GGP)的竞购者正寻求从中东和亚洲的一些主权财富基金获得财务支持。现已破产的GGP旗下一些购物中心在美国非常有名。

竞购方和外国投资者之间的谈判仍处于早期阶段,但这一动向突显出,世界主要主权财富基金的风险偏好越来越大,它们有兴趣在处于困境的美国商业地产市场寻找便宜的投资对象。

在西蒙集团(Simon Property Group)和布鲁克菲尔德(Brookfield)资产管理公司争夺GGP旗下200个购物中心控制权之际,“多家大型主权基金正与两家机构展开合作,”摩根士丹利房地产投行业务负责人盖伊·梅特卡夫(Guy Metcalfe)表示。

GGP控制权之争开始于今年西蒙集团向该公司提出100亿美元收购报价。GGP董事会拒绝了这一报价,并提出一项资本重组计划。根据该计划,GGP将从布鲁克菲尔德、费尔霍姆资本管理公司(Fairholme Capital Management)和比尔·阿克曼(Bill Ackman)的潘兴广场对冲基金(Pershing Square)得到约65亿美元的新增资本。

知情人士称,西蒙一直在与卡塔尔投资局(Qatar Investment Authority)等主权财富基金讨论帮助其竞购的事宜。预计百仕通集团(Blackstone)也将与西蒙联手,并可能向阿布扎比投资局(Abu Dhabi Investment Authority)等投资者求助,以获得更大的财务实力。

一些主权财富基金已投资于布鲁克菲尔德旗下55亿美元的困境房地产机会基金,该基金的投资对象正是GGP这样的公司。知情人士表示,布鲁克菲尔德很可能为此笔交易向其中一些主权财富基金募资。

上述困境资产基金的投资者包括中国投资公司(CIC)、澳大利亚未来基金(Australian Fund for the Future)、新加坡政府投资公司(GIC)和准主权基金——加拿大养老金计划投资局(CPP Investment Board),这些投资者每家出资最低5亿美元。据知情人士透露,中投公司签署了一项单独的保密协议,表明它可能会加入GGP竞购。

梅特卡夫表示,可能有更多投资者参与竞购,这反映了“该交易的规模和资产质量”的优异。他说:“成立时间较短的基金——如中投公司和科威特投资局(Kuwait Investment Authority)——在房地产领域的资产配置尤其不足,同时不存在业绩或历史遗留问题。投资GGP将是一个极为难得的机会。”

西蒙集团、布鲁克菲尔德、中投公司、新加坡政府投资公司和卡塔尔投资局均拒绝置评。

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