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BIRMINGHAM, UK-The Westfield Group has sold a 50% stake in the 1.61-million-sf Merry Hill shopping center near Birmingham in the UK’s West Midlands for $1.03 billion. The stake was acquired by Queensland Investment Corp.

Merry Hill is one of the largest shopping centers in the UK. It is anchored by the Debenhams and Marks and Spencer department stores, Asda and Sainsbury supermarkets and more than 250 specialty stores. Westfield will continue to act as the center’s property, leasing and development manager.

Westfield purchased 100% interest of Merry Hill in December 2004 for $1.72 billion–including development land valued at $113.96 million–and has since invested an additional $31.43 million in the center. The center’s implied value of $1.94 billion translates to an income yield of 4.3%, according to Westfield.

Westfield owns interests in 121 shopping centers in four countries. Westfield managing director Steven Lowry says the partnership with QIC is part of the company’s on going initiative to raise equity capital for redevelopment of existing assets.

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