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Westfield Exits Brazil Venture Less Than Two Years After Entry

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April 30 (Bloomberg) -- Westfield Group, the world’s biggest shopping center operator by assets, sold its stake in a Brazilian joint venture, less than two years after entering the market with a $466 million investment.

Westfield, which manages about $66 billion of assets worldwide, sold its 50 percent stake to the Almeida Junior Family, the Sydney-based company said in a statement today, without giving a value for the sale. The stake represented less than 1 percent of group assets and the proceeds from the sale matched the company’s valuation, it said.

“The partnership was not conducive to the achievement of the group’s long-term objectives in Brazil,” Westfield Co-Chief Executive Officer Steven Lowy said in the statement, without providing details. “We will continue to independently review opportunities in the region.”

Westfield in August 2011 agreed to spend 740 million reais, now the equivalent of $369 million, for half of the Sao Paulo-based mall owner. It was the first time the Australian company had entered a market in more than a decade. The exit follows last month’s agreement to sell half shares of six malls in Florida for about $700 million as Westfield invests in higher-returning projects such as developments.

Shares of Westfield rose 0.2 percent to A$11.60 as of 10:57 a.m. in Sydney, taking this year’s climb to 9.8 percent.

The sale won’t affect earnings, Westfield said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Angus Whitley in Sydney at awhitley1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sarah Rabil at srabil@bloomberg.net

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