October 7, 2018 / 11:36 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Australian Unity Office gets sweetened Starwood Capital Asia offer

(Adds detail on bid, background)

Oct 8 (Reuters) - Australian Unity Office Fund said on Monday that funds managed by Starwood Capital Asia Ltd raised their buyout offer for the real estate investment trust for a third time, making the deal potentially worth A$480.4 million ($338.9 million).

Australian Unity Office said the funds sweetened their bid to A$2.95 per cash unit, 8.5 percent higher than the last offer of A$2.72 cash per unit.

The offer represents a premium of 9.7 percent to the trust’s last close.

Australian Unity Office Fund’s independent board committee said it was in the interests of unitholders to engage further with Starwood.

The Melbourne-based company plans to grant Starwood, a private equity firm, up to four weeks to complete its due diligence and finalise the proposal, it said in a statement.

Australia’s commercial property sector is defying a softening in home values, with city downtown capacity barely growing and demand outstripping supply.

The rising demand has spurred a bidding war between Canadian landlord Oxford Properties Group and private equity giant Blackstone Group for Australian office owner Investa Office Fund.

$1 = 1.4174 Australian dollars Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; Editing by Stephen Coates

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