Bidding heats up for Italian property fund

Merrill Lynch’s Galante fund has reportedly made a counteroffer for the Berenice fund, eclipsing a bid previously made by Zwinger Opco, an affiliate of Goldman Sachs’ Whitehall fund.

Galante, a fund controlled by international investment bank Merrill Lynch, is reportedly offering €760 ($1,035) per unit of the Berenice property fund, which owns office assets in Rome and Milan.

The bid is higher than the €725 per unit offered by Zwinger Opco, a special purpose vehicle set up by Whitehall, Goldman Sachs’ private equity real estate vehicle. That offer for the 570,000 shares of Berenice expires on July 20.

Prior to the Zwinger bid, Gamma RE, a joint venture between Pirelli Real Estate and the Morgan Stanley Special Situations Fund, had bid €685 per unit.

Approximately a quarter of the Berenice portfolio is rented to Telecom Italia and 85 percent of the property located in the cities of Milan and Rome.