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Paulson-Backed REIT Said in Final Talks to Buy Irish Properties

Green REIT Plc, a fund backed by billionaire John Paulson, is in exclusive talks to buy most of an Irish property portfolio from Danske Bank S/A after topping rival bids, three people with knowledge of the matter said.

Danske, based in Copenhagen, is seeking as much as 135 million euros ($183 million) for the whole portfolio, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. The portfolio, known as Project ARC, includes retail properties, offices and a parking lot.

Paulson and fellow Green REIT backers Pacific Investment Management Co. and BlackRock Inc. are seeking to profit from an Irish property recovery after the country endured the worst real estate crash in western Europe. The slump ensnared Danske’s Irish subsidiary, which is winding down its commercial property investments.

Spokesmen for Danske, Green REIT and Grant Thornton in Dublin, which is advising the Danish bank on Irish asset sales, declined to comment.

Green REIT raised 310 million euros in its initial public offering in July. The stock has jumped about 10 percent since then, while the 45-member ISEQ Overall Index has gained 3.6 percent.

Paulson became a billionaire in 2007 by betting against the U.S. subprime mortgage market. His Paulson & Co. fund owns about 13 percent of Green REIT, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. U.S. mutual fund manager Franklin Resources Inc. also owns about 13 percent, the data show.

Pimco, which runs the world’s biggest bond fund, and BlackRock, the world’s biggest asset manager, own about 10 percent each, according to the data. Investec Plc, a finance firm with operations in the U.K. and South Africa, owns 11 percent, the data show.

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