SAO PAULO, March 7 Brazilian homebuilder Gafisa
SA is discussing the sale of its high-end Alphaville
unit with three potential buyers, including Sam Zell's Equity
International, a local newspaper reported on Thursday, citing
Gafisa owns 80 percent of Alphaville, which could be worth
about 1.8 billion reais ($914 million), according to the report
in O Estado de S. Paulo. The sale would help Gafisa reduce its
debt, which is among the highest in Brazil's construction
For Zell, a deal could mark his return to an operation he
invested in from 2006 through 2011. Equity International led
Gafisa's initial public offering (IPO) but sold the last of his
stake two years ago.
In February 2012, Gafisa turned down an offer by Equity
International and local private equity firm GP Investimentos to
buy some of its assets. Zell said in October he continued to
invest in Brazil and was "not particularly" concerned that
quickly rising real estate prices reflected a potential bubble.
Other groups interested in Alphaville are asset management
company Hemisfério Sul Investimentos and an unnamed financial
firm, which are expected to present their bids by March 22
according to the Estado report.
Spokesmen for Gafisa, Equity International and Hemisfério
Sul Investimentos were not immediately available for comments.
Gafisa has said it is considering a stake sale or an IPO for
Alphaville, which could allow it to benefit from its highly
profitable operations and even keep control of the unit.
Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse
have raised their recommendation on Gafisa shares in recent
months, anticipating a boost from the possible sale of