LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. private equity giant Blackstone (BX.N) has been given a green light by the European Commission to take over Dutch mall developer Multi Corporation in a deal that will boost its presence in Turkey, a document shows.
Blackstone has amassed about half of Multi’s estimated 900 million euros ($1.2 billion) of debt at steep discounts, a source close to the situation has told Reuters, prompting speculation earlier this year it would mount a takeover for the company that operates in 14 countries.
Last month Reuters reported the proposed takeover was under review by the European Commission as it could “fall within the scope of the EC Merger Regulation”.
It received the all-clear, according to a document dated July 22 on the European Commission’s website.
“The European Commission has decided not to oppose the notified operation,” it said.
Blackstone and Multi were not immediately available for comment.
In April, Multi Chief Executive Heino Vink told the PropertyEU website that the company was meeting its financial obligations. There had been widespread media reports that it was under pressure from lenders to restructure its debt.
Blackstone bought three Turkish malls from Dutch company Redevco last year, a business that it could merge with Multi’s Turkish properties, the source told Reuters. Multi has about 10 malls across Turkey, according to the company’s website.
Investors including the Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC are attracted to retail property in Turkey because there is a young population of consumers aspiring to European shopping habits. The number of Turkish malls has grown from 46 to about 300 since 2000.
Editing by Stephen Nisbet