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Blackstone Buys Loans Backed by Stake in Paris’s Gecina

Blackstone Group LP, manager of the world’s largest real estate fund, teamed with Canada’s biggest pension-fund manager to buy loans backed by a 12 percent stake in Paris landlord Gecina SA.

Affiliates of the Blackstone Real Estate Partners Europe III fund and Ivanhoe Cambridge Inc., the real estate investment arm of Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec, acquired about 40 percent of the outstanding bank loans made to two of Gecina’s largest shareholders, according to a statement after the French market closed yesterday. Blackstone didn’t say what percentage of the venture each partner will hold.

Investment companies owned by former Gecina Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Joaquin Rivero and the Soler family pledged their combined 31 percent stake in Gecina as collateral for loans provided in 2006 by 13 European banks. There is 1.62 billion euros ($2.1 billion) of debt outstanding, they said last month.

Rivero’s Alteco Gestion & Promocion de Marcas SL and Mag-Import SL, owned by Victoria Soler and her husband, both filed for creditor protection in Spain on Oct. 3 after refinancing talks with the banks broke down.

Blackstone didn’t say how much of a discount it paid to acquire the loans, which have a nominal value of about 640 million euros. The value of shares backing the loans is about 662 million euros, based on yesterday’s closing price in Paris.

Gecina is France’s third-largest real estate investment trust, with a market value of 5.34 billion euros. The company is also Paris’s largest publicly traded office landlord.

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