Qatar fund, firm named as investors in $5.6b New York deal | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 21, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:59 PM, April 20, 2019

Qatar fund, firm named as investors in $5.6b New York deal

Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and private realty firm Crown Acquisitions said on Friday they were the unnamed investors in a deal with Vornado Realty Trust valued at $5.56 billion that involves a portfolio of prime New York retail properties.

Vornado sold a non-controlling stake in its portfolio of properties along Fifth Avenue and Broadway in Times Square in a transaction that provided the firm cash proceeds of about $1.2 billion, the firm said on Thursday.

Neither QIA, Qatar's sovereign wealth fund, or Crown Acquisitions were named on Thursday as the investors who contributed $1.31 billion in cash in a newly created joint venture with Vornado. QIA and Crown Acquisitions, which acted as an advisor to the deal, said they acquired a 24% stake each in a portfolio of five ground-level stores along a swath of Fifth Avenue just north of St. Patrick's Cathedral and two sites in Times Square.

The deal comprised $950 million of mortgage debt, $1.83 billion of preferred equity entirely held by Vornado and $2.78 billion of common equity in which Vornado holds 51%.

The portfolio include stores at 666 Fifth Avenue, a building that has been in the news because it was owned by the family of Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of President Donald Trump, until Brookfield Asset Management bought a 99-year lease on the office portion last August. QIA Chief Executive Mansoor al-Mahmoud said in a statement the investment underlined QIA's ambition to boost its U.S. investments to $45 billion in coming years and “our belief in the exciting long-term possibilities offered by New York City.”

The retail portfolio includes such brands as MAC, Polo, Forever 21 and Disney. QIA also is an investor in Brookfield and the transaction at 666 Fifth Avenue involving Kushner Cos had prompted a rethink of how the gas-rich kingdom invests money abroad via the sovereign wealth fund, two sources told Reuters earlier this year.

Qatar had decided that QIA would aim to avoid investing in funds or other vehicles it does not fully control, according to the sources, who are familiar with the strategy.

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