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Santander Headquarters Owner Files for Protection From Creditors

The owner of Banco Santander SA’s Madrid headquarters is seeking protection from its creditors after failing to repay debt linked to the 1.9 billion-euro ($2.6 billion) acquisition in 2008.

A Madrid court began “concurso voluntario” proceedings for Marme Inversiones 2007 SAL on March 5, Cardew Group, a public relations firm representing Marme, said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. The company didn’t repay a 1.56 billion-euro senior loan that matured last year, it said. Madrid’s No.9 mercantile court said that Marme is in voluntary creditor protection proceedings, according to today’s Spanish government gazette.

Marme acquired the 250-hectare (618-acre) office complex as part of a 40-year rental deal with Santander in September 2008, the week before Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection. The company is owned by property investors Glenn Maud and Derek Quinlan, who together acquired Citigroup Inc.’s London headquarters in Canary Wharf the previous year.

The senior loan backing the Spanish acquisition was provided by lenders including Deutsche Postbank AG, ING Groep NV and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Marme said in the statement. Some of this debt is now held by Blackstone Group LP’s GSO unit and Centerbridge Capital Partners LP, it said.

RBS provided the company with a 200 million-euro junior loan, which was then acquired by Abu Dhabi-based Aabar Investments PJSC and Robert Tchenguiz, Marme said.

Andrew Dowler, a spokesman for Blackstone, declined to comment on the process. Robert Tchenguiz and officials at Centerbridge and RBS didn’t immediately return a calls seeking comment. Officials at Aabar didn’t reply to an e-mail and a call for comment outside of business hours.

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