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HONG KONG-The government here has cancelled the $2.7-billion initial public offering for Link REIT, which would have privatized 180 retail malls and car parks on public housing estates through a quoted REIT. Secretary for Housing, Planning & Lands Michael Suen told reporters last night that the Housing Authority will re-launch the IPO after all the legal impediments are cleared.The principal legal impediment is an unresolved legal challenge to the offering by public housing tenant Lo Siu Lang, who has already failed in an initial challenge against the Link REIT and a subsequent appeal. Last week, Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal refused to curtail the 28-day time limit for the tenant’s final appeal to be lodged against the REIT. The Housing Authority had said that if the CFA did not force Lo to make any final legal challenge by today it would scrap the IPO. The IPO attracted a record HK$280 billion ($35.9 billion) worth of share orders from 510,000 Hong Kong retail investors. Many investors reportedly already have taken out loans to subscribe to the REIT. If the REIT is revived, Suen says the Housing Authority will start with a new prospectus and subscription.

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