Soros, Paulson in Spanish property REITs investments - FT

MADRID Sat Mar 1, 2014 11:03am EST

George Soros, Chairman of Soros Fund Management LLC smiles as he addresses the audience during an economic speech in Frankfurt April 9, 2013, on the topic 'How to save the European Union from the euro crisis.' REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

George Soros, Chairman of Soros Fund Management LLC smiles as he addresses the audience during an economic speech in Frankfurt April 9, 2013, on the topic 'How to save the European Union from the euro crisis.'

Credit: Reuters/Ralph Orlowski

MADRID (Reuters) - Hedge fund managers George Soros and John Paulson have both taken a 92 million euro ($127 million) stake in a new Spanish property investment vehicle called Hispania, the Financial Times reported on Saturday citing sources close to the deal.

Hispania, created by Spanish-based private investment firm Azora, last week announced plans to list on the stock exchange and launch a share offering in order to raise 500 million euros from qualified investors.

It will operate as a real estate investment trust, or REIT - listed vehicles that typically invest in income-producing assets, such as rental properties.

Azora, George Soros and John Paulson were not immediately available to comment.

REITs are taking off in Spain, where they are known as SOCIMIs, as foreign investors hope to cash in on the country's economic recovery and search for real estate bargains following a 30 percent property price slump since a real estate bubble burst six years ago.

Outpacing Hispania, Spanish family-owned real estate company Grupo Lar said on Friday it would list on the stock exchange in a 400 million euro deal, priced at 10 euros per share.

George Soros has in recent weeks stepped up his investments in Spain and in European real estate.

He was last month an investor in the European property unit of U.S. real estate investment fund Kennedy-Wilson Holdings Inc, which plans to make acquisitions in Britain, Ireland and Spain.

He also made headlines in January after buying shares into Spanish building company FCC .

($1 = 0.7240 euros)

(Reporting by Julien Toyer, additional reporting by Jennifer Ablan in New York; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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