Oaktree enters exclusive negotiations on Project Gaudi for circa €500m

Oaktree Capital Management has entered exclusive negotiations with FMS Wertmanagement for the predominantly Spanish Project Gaudi commercial real estate loan portfolio for a price thought to be just north of €500m, CoStar News has learned.

OAKTREENegotiations are ongoing and the Board of FMS Wertmanagement is still to approve the sale, but Colony Capital, the second finalist, is no longer in the running to acquire the bad bank’s prospective maiden European NPL.

Project Gaudi, named after the legendary Catalan architect, has an unpaid balance of €740m, and is expected to trade at around 68 cents in the euro.

Cerberus Capital Management and Orion Capital Managers made up the top four, as revealed by CoStar News at the turn of the New Year.

Project Gaudi loan portfolio, which is being sold by Cushman & Wakefield’s Corporate Finance team in London, is comprised of 18 loans with broadly an equal split of performing, sub-performing and non-performing loans.

Project Gaudi, comprised of 16 loans secured by Spanish assets and two loans secured by Portuguese commercial properties, includes:

  • two five-star hotels in Barcelona and Cascais;
  • five shopping centre and leisure centres;
  • four business parks in Madrid and Barcelona;
  • a portfolio of 17 self-storage assets; and
  • several residential and industrial development sites.

The marquee asset in Project Gaudi is the 483-bed Hotel Arts in Barcelona, managed by Ritz-Carlton.

A consortium comprised of Host Hotels & Resorts, Dutch pension fund Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP and Jasmine Hotels Pte, an affiliate of Singapore sovereign wealth fund’s GIC Real Estate paid €417m in July 2006 for Hotel Arts, which at the time was the largest ever single-asset real estate transaction in Spain.

For a more detailed report on the assets within Project Gaudi, please click CoStar News’ exclusive story from last October.

FMS Wertmanagement, founded in 2010 after the German government nationalised Hypo Real Estate, brought the Project Gaudi loan portfolio for sale in October.

The four second round finalists all placed bids above 60 cents in the euro, which reflects a price of €444m or above. 

First round bidders included Davidson Kempner in a joint venture with Värde Partners, Blackstone, Deutsche Bank, Marathon Asset Management, Sankaty Advisors, BAML, Colony Capital, Starwood Capital, Apollo Global Management and Lone Star.  

FMS Wertmanagement had as much as €13.4bn in remaining commercial real estate loans, as at the end of 2013, including €5.8bn of German loans, €1.8bn of US loans, €1.7bn worth of UK commercial real estate loans and €0.8bn and €0.6bn of loans secured by assets in France and Netherlands, respectively. 

Spain has returned to economic growth in 2014 following seven difficult years of rising unemployment, salary deflation and depressed consumer spending.

But an increase in business activity has led to unemployment reducing and consumer confidence has reached its highest level since 2001 with improvements in disposable income and recovering house prices reinforcing this optimism.

All parties declined to comment.

jwallace@costar.co.uk

About CoStar News

Finance Editor, CoStar News
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