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Lone Star mulls £3B Quintain sale; Unibail edges toward Westfield buyout

S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of European real estate news stories and more published throughout the week. Please note that some entries may have links to third-party sources that may require a subscription.

Mega sale

* Private equity giant Lone Star Funds is considering selling London property developer Quintain Ltd. for over £3 billion as it seeks to trim its exposure to the U.K. real estate market amid Brexit-related uncertainties, London's Financial Times reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Lone Star enlisted Eastdil and Credit Suisse to explore a sale of the business. A partial sale may also be in the cards, according to the sources.

M&A movements

* France's Unibail-Rodamco SE took one step closer to its planned US$15.68 billion acquisition of Australian mall giant Westfield Corp. after receiving approval from the Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia. The deal is still subject to certain customary conditions, including the approval of Unibail-Rodamco shareholders and Westfield security holders.

* Berlin-based publisher Axel Springer SE is buying an 11.5% interest in U.K.-based real estate agency Purplebricks Group PLC for about £125 million by subscribing for 27,777,777 new Purplebricks ordinary shares at 360 pence per share. The publishing house will also acquire 6,944,444 ordinary Purplebricks shares from Purplebricks CEO Michael Bruce, nonexecutive director William Whitehorn and Global Sales Director Kenny Bruce.

Handover

* Capital & Counties Properties PLC closed the £250 million sale of the Empress State Building in London's Earls Court district. The 451,000-square-foot, 31-story property was sold to its long-term occupant, the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime.

* Madrid-based Testa Residencial SOCIMI SA will pay Caixabank's real estate arm, BuildingCenter SA, about €228 million for a portfolio of 42 apartment buildings across Spain.

The portfolio comprises 1,458 apartments, 66% of which are in Madrid, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona and Valencia, with the remainder in other Spanish metropolitan areas.

* Oxley Holdings Ltd. subsidiary Oxley Docklands Quay One Ltd. and partner National Asset North Quays DAC agreed to divest the 300-year lease on their nine-story No. 1 Dublin Landings property for €164.2 million.

The partners are selling the Dublin asset, which forms part of a roughly €835 million mixed-use project, to Sol Estate Propco IE Dublin Landings Sarl.

* French real estate investment trust Foncière des Régions is in exclusive-rights discussions to buy, through its Foncière des Murs unit, a 14-hotel U.K. portfolio from Starwood Capital. The hotels are operated under Principal Hotels Co., which Starwood was recently reported to be selling in a £1.2 billion auction. The deal is expected to be settled in the first half of the year.

Up for grabs

* Marks & Spencer's global headquarters building in London is set to hit the market with a roughly £250 million price tag, CoStar U.K. reported. A consortium of four Korean investors, led by the Korean Federation of Community Credit Cooperatives, hopes to sell the 13-story, 260,000-square-foot Waterside building in Paddington at a net initial yield of roughly 4.5%.

Featured during the week on S&P Global Market Intelligence

Q&A: UBS Asset Management pins Spain and Italy as Europe's hottest property markets

Q&A: AXA Investment Managers ready to pounce on UK properties with Brexit discount

Deutsche Wohnen to use €1.8 billion of M&A firepower in 2018

Amisha Mehta contributed to this report.