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Almacantar Founder Neil Jones Quits as Fund Focuses on London

Neil Jones quit as joint managing director of Almacantar SA after helping the property fund raise 225 million euros ($323 million) from investors including Italy’s Agnelli family.

Jones, 45, founded Luxembourg-based Almacantar in 2009 with Mike Hussey, who used to run the London unit of U.K. real-estate company Land Securities Group Plc. Almacantar plans to focus on real estate in central London, according to Jones.

“Our shareholders have expressed a clear preference for a single-city strategy,” Jones said in an e-mailed statement. “I have decided to pursue new opportunities in continental Europe, which is where I live and where I have established a successful track record.”

Jones was formerly responsible for continental Europe at Grosvenor Group Ltd. He persuaded the Agnelli’s investment company, Exor SpA, to invest 150 million euros in Almacantar and raise an additional 75 million euros from two other investors. Exor controls Fiat SpA, the Italian carmaker.

Almacantar had planned to invest in London and Paris, where Jones is based. That changed after its backers favored London.

As a result, all of Almacantar’s investments were in the U.K. capital. They include the purchase of Centre Point in the West End district in April and last month’s acquisition of the Marble Arch tower on Oxford Street. Almacantar is also in talks to redevelop part of Lord’s Cricket Ground in the residential district of St. John’s Wood.

Jones will remain a non-executive director and adviser to Almacantar, according to the statement.

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