Slim Buys Bankia’s Realia Stake, to Make Bid for Whole Company

Inmobiliaria Carso, a holding company for Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, agreed to buy Bankia SA’s stake in Realia Business SA and make a bid for the whole company as he increases his investment in Spain.

Carso will pay 0.58 euros per share, or 44.5 million euros ($49.3 million), to buy Bankia’s 24.95 percent stake in the Spanish developer and has committed to bid for the whole company at the same price within nine months, the bank said in a filing to regulators in Madrid today. Realia shares closed today at 86 cents.

Slim, the world’s third-richest man, last November agreed to become the biggest shareholder in Fomento de Construcciones & Contratas SA, which is also Realia shareholder, as the construction company sought to cut debt. Slim is among high-profile investors including George Soros who are investing in Spanish companies as they bet that growth will pick up pace as the country emerges from its property crash.

Hispania Activos Inmobilarios SA, a Spanish real estate investment trust, last November said it would offer 0.49 euros per share for Realia. FCC owns about 37 percent of Realia, according to regulatory filings.

Bankia, Spain’s fourth-biggest bank, has to sell off its industrial equity stakes as part of the terms of its rescue with European funds in 2012 after losses on real estate pushed it to the verge of collapse.

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