Dec 11, 2011
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Bank of Ireland pulls plug on 135 mln stg UK mall sale-source

Dec 11, 2011

LONDON - German fund manager Deka's bid to buy the Victoria Quarter shopping centre in Leeds has fallen through at the eleventh hour, after owner Bank of Ireland pulled out of the sale, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Entrance to the Victoria Quarter Shopping Arcade, Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom, Europe / Photo: Corbis

The Grade II listed north of England shopping centre was the second largest UK retail scheme on the market, after the Kingfisher mall in Redditch, near Birmingham. It had an asking price of 135 million pounds ($211 million), which reflected a yield of 5.5 percent.

The 218,000 square feet centre, which was marketed by CBRE , houses 76 stores, including designer brands Louis Vuitton and Vivenne Westood, as well as upmarket department store Harvey Nichols.

It was not immediately clear why the deal fell through.

Concerns over the global financial crisis and the euro zone debt woes have resulted in some mall deals being pulled from the market or taking longer to complete against a background of financial volatility and tepid consumer demand.

Bank of Ireland owns the Victoria Quarter property on behalf of a number of private investors who have to agree on any deal.

All parties declined to comment.

Leeds will be the site of the UK's only major shopping centre opening in the next two years, as Land Securities looks to complete its 1 million sq ft Trinity Leeds shopping centre in 2013.

In July, Hammerson also received consent for its 600 million pounds redevelopment of the Eastgate Quarters in the city's centre.

Property consultant Savills, which advised Deka, said last month that UK mall deals in 2011 could fall a billion pounds short of a previous forecast maximum of 5 billion pounds. ($1 = 0.6398 British pounds) (Reporting by Brenda Goh and Tom Bill; Editing by Chris Wickham and Andrew Macdonald)

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