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Billionaire Paulson Plans to Invest in Spanish Real Estate IPO

Paulson & Co., the hedge-fund firm founded by billionaire John Paulson, is joining Pacific Investment Management Co. in betting on a recovery in Spanish real estate.

Paulson & Co. will invest in Hispania Activos Inmobiliarios, a Spanish real estate company that plans to raise as much as 550 million euros ($757 million) in an initial public offering this month, according to an IPO prospectus approved by regulators today. The shares will be priced at 10 euros each.

Spain’s benchmark stock index gained 27 percent in the past year amid signs that the economy is recovering from two recessions. Private-equity companies including Apollo Global Management LLC have entered the country’s real estate market after house prices fell by more than 40 percent, while the bad bank created to cleanse lenders of toxic real estate investments is finding buyers for its assets.

Hispania Activos, which will be managed by Azora Gestion Inmobiliaria SL, will become a Socimi, similar to a real estate investment trust.

The company plans to raise 500 million euros through an institutional placing. Hispania Activos may offer an additional 10 percent of the IPO by using what’s known as an over-allotment option. If so, more than 40 percent of the shares would be freely traded.

Hispania Activos has received commitments totaling 314 million euros. Other investors include Quantum Strategic Partners LP, Moore Capital Management LLP, APG, Cohen & Steers Inc. and the Canepa group, according to the prospectus.

Pimco, based in Newport Beach, California, will own as much as 12.5 percent of Lar Espana Real Estate Socimi SA after the Spanish company sells shares to the public for the first time this month.

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