PARIS/MADRID, June 7 Spanish builder Metrovacesa
said it agreed to sell its 27 percent stake in French peer
Gecina to a group of investors as it unwinds a costly
acquisition made during Spain's housing boom in an effort to pay
The buyers - Norges Bank, Credit Agricole
Assurances, U.S. fund Blackstone and Ivanhoe
Cambridge - will pay 92 euros each for the 16.8 million shares,
Metrovacesa said, implying a deal value of 1.55 billion euros
Gecina shares closed up more than 4 percent at 110.95 euros
on Friday. Metrovacesa said the stake sale price represented a
10 percent discount to net asset value.
The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of
September, Metrovacesa said in a statement late on Friday,
provided "certain conditions" were fulfilled relating to the
Spanish group's financial restructuring.
Gecina welcomed the agreement, saying in a statement that it
would "make it possible to continue putting in place a new
Blackstone and Canadian property manager Ivanhoe Cambridge,
acting in concert, already held 23.03 percent of Gecina, while
Credit Agricole Assurances had an 8.56 percent stake.
The builder's troubles go back to its ambitious acquisition
of Gecina in 2005, when it took out a 3.2 billion euro
syndicated loan. Metrovacesa said last year it would consider
selling the stake as it looked to pay down debt.
Blackstone and Ivanhoe Cambridge acquired their stake in
January after a debt-for-equity swap. They had been looking at
ways to avoid being legally obliged to launch a full takeover
bid, newspaper Expansion has reported.
($1 = 0.7332 Euros)
(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Fiona Ortiz and Stephen