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LONDON-Macquarie Bank, the Australian investment bank considering a bid for the London Stock Exchange, is gearing up for expected UK REIT reform. The bank has unveiled the euro 193-million ($239-million) purchase of two UK business parks, in Reading and Glasgow, in a joint venture with Akeler, a British property investment and development company. The acquisition is the first direct purchase by Macquarie of UK real estate assets, although the bank manages others on behalf of its unlisted and listed property funds.

According to a source, the two parks could form the core of a commercial and industrial portfolio of a UK-listed real estate investment trust, assuming REIT reforms are workable for the Australian firm. Macquarie and Akeler have formed a 50/50 joint venture to manage and expand the new portfolio, which will operate initially as an unlisted wholesale fund in the UK.

In Australia and Asia, Macquarie has moved aggressively into listed property funds as part of a euro 35-billion ($43-billion) global portfolio it manages or owns under the Macquarie brand through a mixture of listed and unlisted property trusts, unlisted development funds and property investment syndicates.

A statement issued by the company on the UK acquisitions highlighted what Macquarie sees as strong growth potential in parts of the country’s industrial, retail and commercial property sector.

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