Blackstone to purchase BofA's Merrill Lynch property assets?

18 August 2011

Blackstone could be set to purchase the bulk of Merrill Lynch's real estate investments from Bank of America (BofA) in a deal worth up to $1 billion.

The largest bank in the US by assets is looking to improve its capital ratios and sort out its balance sheet - starting with the sale of the Merrill Lynch holdings.

BofA is in exclusive talks with the investment and advisory firm - which has been in operation for less than 25 years - with the deal likely to include in the region of $800 million to £1 billion in unwanted property investments in the US, South America and Europe.

According to people familiar with the matter, however, the agreement may not go through for a number of weeks and might not even result in a sale.

A mixture of real estate debt and equity positions from a number of countries - including shopping centres in Germany, a housing developer in Brazil and underperforming loans in Italy - all form the portfolio.

By Claire Archer

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