Urban Corp up for grabs

The failed Japanese real estate developer has reportedly attracted as many as 10 potential investors in an auction of the company.

Urban Corp., the failed Japanese real estate developer which filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this month with debts of 255.8 billion yen, is reportedly seeing interest from as many as ten international financial firms, including Merrill Lynch.
Officials involved in the talks told Bloomberg that the investors are eyeing the developer’s $4.4 billion real estate portfolio with an eye on recouping the investment through a firesale. The source said it will be a “large-sized” transaction that will be closely watched to see how overseas investors evaluate Japanese properties.

The Hiroshima-based company’s bankruptcy was the largest among listed companies in Japan this year. In a statement this week Urban said the Tokyo District Court will select a buyer by November. Urban announced it has named Deutsche Bank’s Japanese unit as the financial adviser for the bidding process on Thursday.

The number of bankruptcies among property companies more than doubled to 60 in July from 27 a year earlier, according to Tokyo Shoko Research.