The Financial Times reported on Saturday that George Soros and John Paulson have both taken a 92 million euro ($127 million) stake in a brand new Spanish property investment vehicle called Hispania. Hispania was originally created by Spanish-based private investment firm Azora.
Last week Azora announced that it has plans to list on the stock exchange. It will launch a share offering in order to raise 500 million euros from qualified investors and will operate as a real estate investment trust, or REIT – listed vehicles that typically invest in income-producing assets, such as rental properties.
Azora, George Soros and John Paulson were not immediately available to comment, according to the Financial Times. REITs are growing more popular in Spain, where they are known as SOCIMIs. Foreign investors are taking a keener interest in Spanish property in the hope of cashing in on the country’s economic recovery. Real estate prices dropped by around 30% since their highs six years ago when the Spanish property bubble burst and left many owners with negative equity.
On Friday, Spanish family-owned real estate company, Grupo Lar, announced that it would list on the stock exchange in a 400 million euro deal where it will price each share at 10 euro. George Soros has recently stepped up his investments in Spain and in European real estate. Last month he made an investment in the European property unit of U.S. real estate investment fund Kennedy-Wilson Holdings Inc, which plans to make acquisitions in Britain, Ireland and Spain. He also made headlines in January when he bought a significant number of shares in the Spanish building company, Fcc.
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