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American Real Estate Investors Seek Opportunities in European Debt Crisis

New York Times
Mary Ricks is chief executive of Kennedy Wilson, a California-based firm that bids on commercial properties included in British loan portfolios.

Mary Ricks is chief executive of Kennedy Wilson, a California-based firm that bids on commercial properties included in British loan portfolios.


While the world is anxiously watching to see how the European debt crisis will unfold, many real estate investors in the United States are eagerly seeking opportunities to reap profits from the Continent’s distress.



Private equity firms, whose investors include pension funds, university endowments and foundations, have been vying to buy portfolios of European bank debt consisting of troubled commercial real estate mortgages. By acquiring these loans at deep discounts, they hope eventually to earn generous returns of 12 to 18 percent, investors and advisers say.

The asset sales in Europe could dwarf the work of the United States Resolution Trust Corporation, which was charged with disposing of the troubled mortgages resulting from the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s, said Russell Platt, the chief executive of Forum Partners Europe, an investment firm with headquarters in London. “Most of the firms looking at this came of age during the R.T.C.,” Mr. Platt said. “You can see why a lot of folks are rubbing their hands and saying: ‘This could be very interesting.’ ”


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