GWM, Fortress receives go-ahead for €475m fund

Global Wealth Management (GWM) Group and a Fortress Investment Group entity have received official clearance from Consob, the Italian securities watchdog, to make a bid for40 percent of UniCredit Immobiliare Uno.

Global Wealth Management (GWM) Group and a Fortress Investment Group-managed company have received a boost to their ambition to take a 40 percent stake in an Italian real estate fund for €120 million – a steep discount to net asset value.

GWM, which is owned by Italian shareholders, and its partner Eurocastle Investment Limited, have received the go-ahead to buy shares from retail investors in the fund from La Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (Consob), the Italian financial securities watchdog.

The crucial go-ahead was given on Friday, allowing a “partial voluntary” tender offer to be made for shares in Rome-based real estate fund, UniCredit Immobiliare Uno, which was established in 1999 and which owns a real estate portfolio valued at around €475 million in June last year.

Eurocastle Investment Limited is a European property firm managed by Fortress Investment Limited which is listed on the NYSE Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange.

In an announcement, GWM said the offer period began today and would end on March 7 with its offer equivalent to €1.85 a share representing a 13.1 percent premium to the market price for the last three months.
The deal is significant as it is indicative of how international capital is looking at Italy as a place to invest in real estate for the first time since the global financial crisis. Moreover, it is thought to be the first tender offer since 2006 for a publicly-listed, closed-ended real estate fund in Italy. The opportunity has arisen because of an approaching expiry date of the fund, with experts suggesting more is to come in Italy as such funds mushroomed in size over recent years. The underlying investors are retail as opposed to institutional.

It is though that, if successful in its bid to buy the 40 percent stake, the two investors would have done so at a 40 percent discount to net asset value.