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LONDON- Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley are reportedly trying to put together a € 4 billion ($4 billion) sale & leaseback for the German food retailer Metro. The company occupies 357 buildings across Germany.

According to the financial daily Handelsblatt Morgan Stanley is the preferred bidder, but speaking at the announcement of Metro’s third quarter results Chairman Hans-Joachim Koerber refused to confirm the winning bidder. “Let’s talk about it when the ink is dry,” he said.

Metro’s real estate assets are held through Asset Immobilienbeteiligungen, a joint venture with Westdeutsche Landesbank in which Metro has a 49% stake.

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