LaSalle is raising £400m UK opportunity fund

The Chicago-based US property investment manager is reportedly planning to pick up bargain properties in the UK, with an expected close scheduled for the first quarter of next year.

LaSalle Investment Management is raising a £400 million (€496 million; $632 million) fund focused on UK property, a director of the firm has told Reuters.

The LaSalle UK Ventures Fund II is inked to close in the first quarter of 2009, and is aiming for 20 percent internal rates of return, Paul Richards, LaSalle's head of global managed accounts, said.

The vehicle will hunt both development opportunities and distressed assets. “In the last two to three months, we've been seeing properties on the market where you think it's good value,” Richards said in the report. “People who've got cash to invest should be quite happy at the moment.”

He also mentioned the prospect of forced sellers. That group would include funds which had deferred redemptions in the first two quarters of the year. A spokesperson for the firm had not confirmed the report by press time.

In July, LaSalle created a special situations team in the UK and Europe to assess corporate level acquisitions as well as debt and equity opportunities in a move towards higher risk, higher return strategies.