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Soros, Oaktree Said to Be Bidders for Catalunya Banc Loans

July 2 (Bloomberg) -- George Soros and Oaktree Capital Group LLC are leading two of five investor groups bidding for 6.5 billion euros ($8.9 billion) of distressed mortgages from Spain’s Catalunya Banc, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

Blackstone Group LP and TPG Capital are making a joint bid and Cerberus Capital Management LP and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are also bidding together, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. Lone Star Funds is also bidding, they said. The offers exceed 3 billion euros, one of the people said.

Spain’s FROB bank rescue fund is seeking a buyer for Catalunya Banc, which was nationalized in 2011, and is selling the mortgage portfolio separately as part of that process. The Barcelona-based lender was bailed out with 12 billion euros in public funds as Spain took 41 billion euros in European loans to rescue its banking system in 2012 amid a real-estate crash.

Michael Vachon, a spokesman for Soros, declined to comment in an e-mailed response. Cerberus’s press office didn’t respond to e-mails sent before New York business hours. Jonathan Doorley, a spokesman for Oaktree in London, declined to comment, as did Andrew Dowler, a London-based spokesman for Blackstone, and Sophie Ramsay, a spokeswoman for Goldman Sachs in London. No one was immediately available to comment at Pelham Bell Pottinger in London, which represents TPG.

El Mundo today reported that billionaire investor Soros, Blackstone, Cerberus and Oaktree were among bidders for the Catalunya Banc mortgages.

To contact the reporter on this story: Charles Penty in Madrid at cpenty@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net Keith Campbell, Steve Bailey

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