Altarea, Predica and ABP have set up a new company calledAltaBlue, in which they will each hold one-third of the capital, toacquire Galeries Lafayette's 99.8% stake in Aldeta. AltaBlue hasagreed to pay $14.07 per share in cash for the stake, although thefinal figure may be adjusted to take account of Aldeta's financialstatements at the end of June. An exceptional dividend of around$5.04 per share is due to be paid before ownership is transferred.Once the 99.8% stake has been transferred, AltaBlue will propose tobuy out minority shareholders at a price of at least $14.07 pershare. The deal remains subject to approval from the relevantanti-trust authorities.

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Altarea's chairman and founder Alain Taravella said theacquisition demonstrates the company's ability to position itselfin regional shopping centres offering considerable potential. "Morethan ever, shopping centres are the group's main focus," he said.Altarea said the acquisition constitutes a strong sign for theinvestment market, which is showing clear signs of long-terminvestor confidence in the shopping center sector.

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The Cap 3000 deal also fits the strategy of Crédit Agricole'sinsurance unit Predica and Dutch pension fund ABP. "The investmentproject is part of Predica's real estate investment policy, whichin 2010 is focused squarely on market opportunities for highquality assets," said Bernard Michel, CEO of Crédit AgricoleAssurances. "We feel that CAP 3000 meets those objectivesperfectly. It is unique in both the French and European commercialreal estate sectors."

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Patrick Kanters, ABP's MD global real estate, added that thedeal fits with ABP's strategy of co-investing alongside companiesin which it already holds a substantial interest. "We believe thispartnership offers the right mix of financial resources andproperty development skills," he said.

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Cap 3000 is France's eighth-largest mall. Located inSaint-Laurent du Var, its catchment area incorporates Nice, Cannesand Antibes, and Galeries Lafayette will remain the anchor afterchange of ownership. Altarea sees significant potential to enhancerental value and extend selling space, and said it is planningextensive redevelopment.

AllanSaundersonis a managing editor of PropertyInvestor Europe and a contributor to GlobeSt.com.

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