Thursday, February 10, 2011

Three Suitors Left for Centro's U.S. Properties

Morgan Stanley’s global real estate fund is teaming with Barry Sternlicht’s Starwood Capital Group LLC to bid for U.S. shopping centers being sold by Australia’s Centro Properties Group, a person briefed on the plans said.

Centro said on Dec. 22 it had received several expressions of interest. Blackstone Group LP made a preliminary bid for some assets, a person with knowledge of the offer said in December. Centro, based in Melbourne, ceded control to its bankers at the end of 2008 and put its assets up for sale after an acquisition spree in the U.S. backfired as the credit markets seized up.

The person briefed on Morgan Stanley and Starwood’s plans asked not to be identified because the information is private.

Mark Lake, a spokesman for Morgan Stanley in New York, and Tom Johnson, a spokesman for Greenwich, Connecticut-based Starwood Capital, declined to comment. Stacy Slater, a New York- based spokeswoman for Centro, also declined to comment.

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