Blackstone plans takeover of Dutch mall developer Multi

LONDON, July 4 Thu Jul 4, 2013 1:39pm EDT

LONDON, July 4 (Reuters) - U.S. private equity giant Blackstone plans to buy Dutch mall developer Multi Corporation in a deal that would allow it to boost its presence in Turkey, a document showed.

Blackstone has amassed about half of Multi's estimated 900 million euros ($1.16 billion) of debt at steep discounts, a source close to the situation has told Reuters, prompting speculation it would mount a takeover for the developer that operates in 14 countries.

The document carried by the Official Journal of the European Union dated June 28 showed a takeover proposal was filed last month that is under review by the European Commission as it could "fall within the scope of the EC Merger Regulation".

No further details were provided and nobody at Blackstone or Multi was immediately available for comment.

In April, Multi Chief Executive Heino Vink told the PropertyEU website that the company was meeting its financial obligations. There had been widespread media reports that it was under pressure from lenders to restructure its debt.

Blackstone bought three Turkish malls from Dutch company Redevco last year, which it could merge with the Multi properties, the source told Reuters. Multi has about 10 malls across Turkey, according to the company's website.

Investors including the Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC are attracted to retail property in the country because there is a young population of consumers aspiring to European shopping habits. The number of Turkish malls has grown from 46 to about 300 since 2000.

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