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Centro Grants Cromwell Due Diligence on Syndicates

Centro Properties Group, the Australian shopping-mall owner that ceded control to creditors in 2008, has granted property trust Cromwell Group the right to conduct exclusive due diligence on its MCS Syndicates funds management business.

The decision follows “a detailed and extensive” process by Centro that has sought interest from several interested parties, Centro Chief Executive Officer Robert Tsenin said in a statement to the Australian stock exchange today.

“The potential transaction, should it proceed, will continue to provide a superior service to investors, and create value for all our stakeholders,” Tsenin said.

Centro, which manages an A$18.6 billion collection of 712 shopping centers in Australia, New Zealand and the U.S., said in July it was seeking partners for its unlisted funds management business, after restructuring and extending A$2.7 billion of debt. The group, which had A$18.4 billion of debt as of June 30, is also seeking buyers for more than A$4 billion of assets, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The Melbourne-based company said on Nov. 4 that a number of parties have approached it with expressions of interest in its business and assets.

Any transaction following the due diligence by Brisbane-based Cromwell is subject to obtaining the required consents and approvals, Centro said. Centro MCS is the direct property division of Centro Properties and manages investments in 35 syndicates with a value of A$3.2 billion in Australia and $2.5 billion in the U.S., according to its website.

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