Allianz Said Planning to Buy German Mall From Blackstone

Allianz Real Estate, the property investing arm of Europe’s largest insurer, plans to buy the Koe Galerie shopping mall in Dusseldorf from Blackstone Group LP, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Allianz will pay about 300 million euros ($408 million) for the property, which has about 20,000 square meters (215,000 square feet) in retail space and 30,000 square meters of office space, said the person who asked not to be identified because the sale has not yet taken place.

Representatives at Blackstone and Allianz declined to comment.

Insurers are buying commercial property as a way to boost returns because low interest rates are eroding profit from bonds. Investors including insurers bought 14 billion euros of German offices in 2013, the most since at least 2007, according to data compiled by BNP Paribas SA.

Blackstone owns an 88 percent stake of Koe Galerie, which it bought from Merrill Lynch. German shopping mall operator ECE Projektmanagement GmbH & Co. KG owns the rest, the person said. A spokesman for ECE did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

In October, a Commerzbank AG unit that manages the commercial mortgage-backed securities linked to the property, said the mall had attracted bids as borrowers couldn’t repay a 500 million-euro loan tied to the CMBS by an Oct. 15 due date.

The sale plans were reported by Rheinische Post earlier today.

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