LOS ANGELES-Locally based Lowe Enterprises Investors and NewYork City's Guardian Life Insurance Co. have formed a venture inwhich Guardian has allocated $200 million to expand Lowe’sinvestment activities by investing alongside clients and partnersof LEI, which is the investment management subsidiary of LoweEnterprises. Guardian will acquire a substantial butnon-controlling interest in LEI, which will continue to be managedon a day-to-day basis by Brad Howe and Bleecker Seaman, both withthe title of co-CEO.

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Howe says in a prepared statement that the partnership withGuardian "positions us to take advantage of the recovery of thereal estate market and will allow us to better serve our clients byimproving our capital resources.” Tom Sorell, executive vicepresident and chief investment officer of Guardian, says, "We viewthis as an opportune time to invest in real estate with a partnerthat has a strong, long-term record of performance in identifyingcompelling investment opportunities that will provide attractivereturns for our policyholders.”

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Lowe Enterprises entered the real estate investment managementfield in the late 1980s and has "a record of success that spansmultiple market cycles," the company said in announcing theGuardian partnership. According to Robert J. Lowe, chairman and CEOof Lowe Enterprises Inc., the agreement "presents a tremendousopportunity to expand our real estate investment activities inpartnership with a well-respected and highly rated mutual lifeinsurance company." Grail Partners LLC acted as financial adviserto Lowe, and De Guardiola Advisors, Inc. acted as a financialadviser to Guardian in this transaction, the closing of which issubject to obtaining customary consents.

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Lowe Enterprises Investors provides real estate investmentmanagement services on behalf of institutional and high-net-worthclients and partners through both individually managed andcommingled fund relationships. The firm has been responsible for $6billion in real estate assets, including commercial, hospitalityand debt investments, since inception in the late 1980s.

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Among LEI's recent deals locally was its acquisition of thelandmark LidoApartments in Hollywood for $9.4 million. Lowe said itplanned immediate improvements on the five-story complex,considered vintage Hollywood for its architectural and interiordesign.

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