US hedge fund Värde Partners is on the brink of a £360m double deal to bag two retail portfolios, as it continues its drive into the UK and Ireland market.
It has signed contracts to buy the Project Titan portfolio for around £252m and is front runner on the Irish Spectrum portfolio for a price in excess of €140m (£110m).
Värde, in a joint venture with APAM, beat off competition with a knockout bid around £20m more than its three US rivals to land Titan. Joint ventures between Kildare Partners and Catalyst, Apollo Global Real Estate Management and M&M Asset Management and Goldman Sachs and Square Metre Properties were thought to have bid around £230m apiece.
The former Noé family-owned portfolio was put up for sale in September by receivers at KPMG via Aviva Commercial Finance, which holds the debt against the 187-property retail-focused UK portfolio.
It is mainly made up of small shops in secondary locations but also includes residential, office and industrial.
Värde is also on pole for the Spectrum portfolio, which is made up of seven Irish retail assets including the Bloomfields and Kilbarrack shopping centres in Dublin, after bidding in excess of €140m (£110m).
Final bids for the Lloyds Banking Group-owned portfolio were submitted last Friday, with Värde selected as front runner ahead of Davidson Kempner and one other party.
The assets in Spectrum produce €11m of annual rental income across approximately 569,000 sq ft of space, plus 31 acres of development land.
The twin deal follows Värde’s acquisition of Local Shopping REIT’s £80m Project Minard portfolio of UK shopping centres and NAMA’s Acorn portfolio of Irish centres in August.
Värde, which is named after the Swedish word for value, was founded by two former traders at Minnesota-based agriculture company Cargill and specialises in trading undervalued loans and property.
It hit the headlines in 2011 when it seized control of Crest Nicholson after buying up the loans of the debt-laden group. It subsequently listed the housebuilder in a £500m float last year.
It also has a history of property deals with UK banks, buying Royal Bank of Scotland’s Sapphire portfolio at the end of 2013 and tying up with Kennedy Wilson to buy a £264m portfolio of Irish assets previously owned by Treasury Holdings.
JLL is the selling agent on Project Titan, with Allsop acting for Värde. Savills and Bannon is selling agent on Spectrum.