FRANKFURT Hochtief (HOTG.DE), the German builder controlled by Spanish group ACS (ACS.MC), has received bids for its real estate business Aurelis in a potential 1 billion euro ($1.4 billion) deal, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Several private equity groups have handed in binding offers for the former Deutsche Bahn DBN.UL real estate unit that Hochtief bought in 2007 for 1.6 billion euros.
Brookfield, Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing (MSREI) and Patron Capital have looked at Aurelis, but it was not clear whether the investors are among the final bidders.
The sale is part of an overhaul meant to help Hochtief cut its debt while it focuses on plans to become one of the biggest global infrastructure providers.
Hochtief owns 50 percent of Aurelis, with private equity group Grove - founded by billionaire George Soros - holding the other half.
"There are bids for 100 percent as well as for 50 percent," one of the people said, adding that Grove has signaled it will sell its stake if the price is right.
A signing of a deal is expected later this quarter or in the second quarter, he added.
Aurelis has an annual income of about 65 million euros from rents of properties built on former Deutsche Bahn plots, which Hochtief hopes bidders will value at a multiple of about 11.
Separately, it has a bundle of currently unused plots whose fair value it has put at 540 million euros.
"Taking a certain discount into account, bidders are likely to value Aurelis at about 1 billion euros," one of the people said.
BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA) and Macquarie (MQA.AX) are organizing the sale of Aurelis as well as that of Hochtief's residential property developer Formart and of diversified real estate developer HTP.
Hochtief, the investment banks, MSREI, Brookfield and Patron declined to comment, while Grove was not immediately available for comment.
(Reporting by Arno Schuetze and Matthias Inverardi; Editing by Victoria Bryan and Jane Merriman)