Mori Trust in talks to buy Lone Star $1 bln Tokyo property -sources

TOKYO Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:10am EDT

TOKYO Aug 14 (Reuters) - Japanese property developer Mori Trust Co is in final talks to buy a complex of buildings in Tokyo from U.S. buyout firm Lone Star for more than 100 billion yen (about $1 billion), five people with knowledge of the matter said.

The deal, which could close as early as next week, came about after Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte Ltd backed out earlier this year due to a legal dispute over the ownership of the property, the Meguro Gajoen complex.

A Mori Trust spokesman declined to comment. Lone Star officials could not immediately be reached.

Proceeds from the sale will help Lone Star to repay the roughly 85 billion yen it owes a group of lenders in connection with the property, the sources said.

The property in west-central Tokyo includes two office buildings and houses the headquarters of Amazon.com Inc's Japan operations. It also includes a lavish wedding hall that was built in the 1930s as a restaurant and bathhouse.

The Singapore fund had won the right to negotiate to buy Meguro Gajoen for about 134 billion yen, but changed tack over the dispute, according to sources with direct knowledge of the matter. That lawsuit continues in Tokyo District Court.

Lone Star gained control of most of the complex in 2002 by buying at a discount debt owed by the founding family of Meguro Gajoen from a group of lenders, and has attempted to sell the property several times since 2006. (1 US dollar = 102.4300 Japanese yen) (Editing by William Mallard and Edmund Klamann)