Carlyle frontrunner in UK distressed sale

Washington DC-based Carlyle has reportedly offered around £440m to buy the ‘Thames Portfolio’ of properties linked to the problematic 2007 White Tower CMBS

The Carlyle Group is reportedly frontrunner to buy a package of London office assets linked to a CMBS deal that went wrong.

Reuters reported today that Carlyle has bid around £440 million (€541 million; $641 million) for the Thames Portfolio comprising five properties acquired by private investor Simon Halabi and refinanced via the White Tower CMBS which led bondholders into difficulties when the borrower defaulted in July 2009. French bank, Societe Generale organised the syndication in 2006, with a final maturity date of 2012.

The offer made by Carlyle is a reported £26 million below the price-tag sales broker Knight Frank attached to the portfolio.

The purchase will be funded using a mixture of bank debt and a portion of equity provided by Carlyle's third European property opportunity fund, Carlyle Europe Real Estate Partners III, which closed on €2.2 billion ($2.68 billion) in 2008.

For more on the White Tower CMBS click here.