Canada Pension Plan, Hammerson buy UK mall stake for $476 million

Fri May 3, 2013 6:59am EDT
 
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LONDON (Reuters) - Canada's Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), one of the world's largest pension funds, and landlord Hammerson (HMSO.L: Quote) have bought a stake in a major British shopping center for 307 million pounds ($476 million).

The 33.3 percent stake was bought from Australia's state pension fund, Future Fund, in a 50-50 joint venture, Hammerson said on Friday. Hammerson already owns a third of the Bullring shopping center in Birmingham and the purchase will take its ownership up to 50 percent.

The 10-year-old Bullring mall in the center of Birmingham attracts 40 million shoppers a year and its tenants include department stores Selfridges and Debenhams. A fund managed by Henderson (HGGH.L: Quote) owns the remaining third of the center.

Large shopping centers which dominate their catchment area have been sought after by investors as they have weathered the tough retailing climate relatively well. Last October, Norway's sovereign wealth fund bought a 50 percent stake in the Meadowhall shopping center in Sheffield for 348 million pounds, a mall co-owned by developer British Land (BLND.L: Quote).

Hammerson, which also owns shopping centers Brent Cross in London and Italie 2 in Paris, sold the bulk of its London offices last year to Canadian-American developer Brookfield BPO.TO to focus on retail.

This is its third partnership with CPPIB, which at the end of December managed C$172.6 billion in assets.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Paul Sandle)