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Lend Lease Sells Prussia Mall Stake for $545 Million

Lend Lease Group plans to sell its half of the King of Prussia shopping mall, the largest shopping center on the U.S. East Coast, to a Morgan Stanley fund for about $545 million.

Australia’s biggest construction company will sell its interest in the mall to the Morgan Stanley Prime Property Fund, the Sydney-based company said in a statement to the Australian stock exchange. The company, which expects a profit of about $100 million from the sale, said it will use the proceeds to repay its debt sourced in the U.K., and to fund its U.S. investment pipeline.

U.S. funds are snapping up malls from Australian sellers as values pick up and signs of a retail recovery emerge. Blackstone Group LP, the world’s largest private-equity firm, in March agreed to pay about $9.4 billion to buy Centro Properties Group’s U.S. shopping centers.

U.S. mall operators are benefiting from sales to foreign tourists as the sagging dollar boosts their purchasing power. The 3-million-square-foot King of Prussia mall is located off Route 202 in Pennsylvania. It is home to more than 400 shops and restaurants, among them seven department stores including Macy’s Inc., Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus.

Lend Lease, which had scrapped plans to sell its holding in the mall in 2008, expects to close the transaction in August. The shares added 0.8 percent to A$8.42 at the 4:10 p.m. close of trading in Sydney.

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