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U and I to plan £3.5B UK project; Asian investors in £2B stake deal

S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of European real estate news stories and more published throughout the week.

New alliance

* British water company Anglian Water and the Cambridge City Council chose London-based U and I Group PLC to be the master planner and promoter on the development of a £3.5 billion urban quarter in north Cambridge, U.K. The 120-acre site of a water recycling center is slated to feature at least 5,200 homes and 1 million square feet of office space, among other things.

Stronger together

* U.K.-based data center landlord Global Switch Ltd. is set to welcome the Strategic IDC Ltd. consortium of six Asian institutional and private investors as a 24.99% stakeholder through a £2.1 billion transaction. Other stakeholders in the company include Aldersgate Investments Ltd., which holds a 24.01% stake, and Elegant Jubilee Ltd., with a 51% stake. The three companies will manage IPO-hopeful Global Switch until its listing.

* Austrian real estate firm Signa Holding GmbH will acquire about half of the European business of Canadian department store chain Hudson's Bay Co. for €1.1 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people privy to the matter. As part of the deal, Hudson's Bay's and Signa's German department stores, named Galeria Kaufhof and Karstadt respectively, will merge.

* Vienna-based CA Immobilien Anlagen AG is also set to have a new stakeholder through IMMOFINANZ AG's roughly €757.9 million sale of its approximately 26% interest to an affiliate of private equity firm Starwood Capital Group.

Beyond borders

* A Property Week report identified South Korean conglomerate Hanwha Corp. as the leading contender to buy Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s new London headquarters for about £1.2 billion. The seller plans to lease back the building at 40 Shoe Lane for 25 years.

* South Africa's Redefine Properties Ltd. paid €185.8 million to acquire a 95% stake in a 98%-leased portfolio of nine Polish logistics properties, which total a gross leasable area of 313,507 square meters. An unidentified fund managed by a U.S. global asset manager sold the properties.

* Gramercy Europe, the London-based unit of Gramercy Property Trust, bought seven logistics properties in France from Tristan Capital Partners' Curzon Capital Partners IV Fund in a €175 million deal. The 282,700-square-meter portfolio offers space for 59,000 square meters of additional development.

All roads lead to London

* Tritax EuroBox generated £300 million in gross proceeds from its oversubscribed IPO of ordinary shares, expected to be admitted for trading on the London bourse. Net proceeds from the issuance will go toward the acquisition of a logistics real estate portfolio across Continental Europe.

* Also pursuing a London listing is Cuban property fund Ceiba Investments, whose backer Standard Life Aberdeen PLC aims to raise £100 million in capital, Citywire reported. Proceeds will be directed toward the refurbishment and expansion of Ceiba's hotels.

Going Dutch

* The approximately €1.5 billion ASR Dutch Prime Retail Fund of property developer ASR Real Estate Development garnered over €275 million in investments from pension schemes Pensioenfonds Vervoer, Stichting Bedrijfstakpensioenfonds voor de Detailhandel and Pensioenfonds APF. The portfolio of high-street units, shopping centers and supermarkets spans a lettable floor area of over 360,000 square meters.

* DWS, formerly Deutsche Asset Management, purchased a €265.6 million portfolio of 12 Dutch residential assets in its first investment for its institutional open-ended pan-European core real estate fund. The properties are spread across the Netherlands in the provinces of Randstad, Limburg, North-Brabant and Overijssel.

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