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NEW YORK CITY-New Plan Excel Realty Trust has closed on a previously announced deal , in which it sold 69 community centers to a joint venture called Galileo America for $968 million. As part of the transaction New Plan received a 5% interest in the partnership.

“We’re effectively recycling capital from a joint venture vehicle,” said New Plan’s CEO Glenn J. Rufrano during a conference when the sale was announced last month. “We are also improving our financial flexibility and credit profile.”

New Plan’s stake in Galileo formerly belonged to Chattanooga, TN-based mall owner CBL & Associates Properties, which cased out of an 8.4% interest in the venture for $100 million.

The rest of the partnership is controlled by Australia-based Galileo Shopping Center Trust. Galileo America currently owns 121 shopping centers, mainly on the East Coast and in the Midwest. As part of the transaction, CBL gained full ownership of Springdale Center in Mobile, AL, and Wilkes-Barre Township Marketplace in Wilkes – Barre Township, PA. New Plan is managing and leasing the centers.

CBL and Galileo originally formed the venture in 2003, when CBL sold 41 community centers to the partnership for $255 million. CBL’s interest in the venture had grown to 51 centers by the time it sold its stake.

New Plan executives first commented in April on their intention to possibly form a partnership with an Australian firm. The firm currently owns interests in 441 community and neighborhood centers across the country.

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