UPDATE 1-Blackstone funds exit General Growth Properties

Tue May 7, 2013 3:26pm EDT

NEW YORK May 7 (Reuters) - Blackstone Group LP plans to sell the 23.4 million shares of General Growth Properties Inc it holds in four funds that were used to help the mall company emerge from bankruptcy more than two years ago, General Growth said on Tuesday.

The sale essentially means Blackstone has exited General Growth, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Factoring in the cost of the shares, which also included 5 million warrants and later the spin-off of Rouse Properties Inc , the fund's investment effectively was about $8.50 and $9 per share. Based on the price of General Growth on Tuesday, the sale would translate into a gross profit of between 154 percent and 169 percent.

"Blackstone has a finite timeline on its investment," Green Street Advisors analyst Cedrik Lachance said. "I think it's harvesting the profits from a highly successful investment."

Blackstone began selling its funds' shares in August last year. It later sold back the warrants to General Growth in January.

General Growth shares were down 2 percent, or 47 cents, at $22.86 in afternoon trading.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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