BUSINESS

Popular joins other Spanish lenders in selling real estate unit

Business to be acquired by US funds Värde Partners and Kennedy Wilson

Madrid -

Banco Popular said Monday it has reached an in-principle agreement to transfer the management of its real estate business to US specialized funds Värde Partners and Kennedy Wilson.

The Spanish lender did not provide financial details of the accord, although Europa Press cited sources as saying the deal is worth some 800 million euros.

A company will be set up specifically for the management of the real estate business, in which Popular will have a stake and Värde Partners and Kennedy Wilson majority control.

Popular’s property division has loans worth a net 9.35 billion euros and foreclosed real estate assets of 6.5 billion.

Värde Partners and Kennedy Wilson in August acquired the real estate management arm of nationalized bank Catalunya Caixa for 35 million euros.

Banco Santander, Spain’s largest bank, last week also agreed in principle to transfer the management of its real estate business to Apollo Global Management in a deal estimated to be worth 700 million euros.

The real estate assets and credit portfolio will remain on Santander’s balance sheet.

Nationalized lender Bankia has also sold its Hábitat real estate unit to hedge fund Cerberus for 90 million euros, while CaixaBank has offloaded 51-percent of its real estate division to TPG.

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