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Goldman Sachs Group Selling 17 German Stores for $1.45B

Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Signa Holding, a property investor managed by Austrian Rene Benko, agreed to buy 17 German department stores, including the country’s largest, for 1.1 billion euros ($1.45 billion) from investors that include Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

The stores are leased to retailer Karstadt Warenhaus GmbH and the transaction will be completed next year, Richard Speich, a spokesman for the investment group called Highstreet that’s selling the stores, said today. The biggest of the 17 properties is the historic KaDeWe store in Berlin.

Companies outside of Germany are buying real estate in the country’s large cities to gain safer investments as the euro region copes with a recession. Retail rents in the second half of 2012 rose 13 percent in Berlin and 7 percent in Cologne, according to data compiled by Chicago-based broker Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.

Highstreet is made up of Goldman Sachs’ Whitehall Street Real Estate Funds, Deutsche Bank AG’s RREEF Real Estate affiliate, Prelios SpA and Generali Real Estate Fund SA. Signa is an Austrian investment firm with 4.5 billion euros in assets that last year tried to acquire German department store chain Kaufhof.

To contact the reporters on this story: Dalia Fahmy in Berlin at dfahmy1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Blackman at ablackman@bloomberg.net

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