ESSEN, GERMANY-To clear its burdensome debt load, the locally based retailer KarstadtQuelle AG is selling 85 properties to its joint venture with Goldman Sachs International. The deal, which includes department stores, office buildings and parking garages, values the portfolio at $5.39 billion (euro 4.5 billion).

The JV is called the Whitehall Fund. Goldman Sachs owns a 51% stake in the JV and KarstadtQuelle owns the remainder. When the deal closes, KarstadtQuelle says it will receive an immediate cash payment of $4.43 million (euro 3.7 billion), and expects to get an additional $960 million (euro 800 million) from additional appreciation of the assets.

“The complete removal of debt for the company immediately opens new development and growth potential on the basis of a considerably less capital intensive business model,” the company said. KarstadtQuelle’s debt stood at around 4 billion euros at the end of September.

The portfolio includes 49 department stores, 29 parking garages and 15 office buildings. KarstadtQuelle is leasing back the properties in a long-term basis. Two of the department stores in the deal are Alsterhaus in Hamburg and KaDeWe in Berlin. The transaction is subject to approval of KarstadtQuelle’s supervisory board.

In addition to this deal, KarstadtQuelle says it expects to generate another $718 million (euro 600 million) in revenue from property sales in the coming months. The for-sale properties include office buildings, land and other assets.

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