US - California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) has entered into a joint venture with First Washington Realty, which will purchase close to US$1bn (€700m) in retail real estate assets from Macquarie CountryWide Trust.

The joint venture, Global Retail Investors (GRI), will acquire a 75% stake in a portfolio of 86 US properties from Macquarie CountryWide Trust, the balance of which is owned by Regency Centers.

GRI is entering into a three-part phase sale process with Macquarie CountryWide, starting with the acquisition of a 45% interest in the portfolio for $778.5m, expected to be completed by the end of July.

The second phase involves GRI purchasing a further 15% interest, plus another 5% which can be acquired by either GRI or Regency Centers.

In total, this 20% stake is being sold by Macquarie CountryWide for $346m and is due to be completed by 31 March 2010.

The third phase involves offering Regency Centers the option to buy the remaining 10% interest from Macquarie CountryWide; in the event this option is not exercised, the stake will be offered to GRI for a period of up to three months.

A portion of the purchase price payable by GRI ($30m) is subject to the portfolio generating total net operating income (NOI) of approximately $157.4m for the three years following completion of phase one.

Macquarie CountryWide is using the whole deal to pay down A$1.38bn of CMBS-backed debt.

The portfolio accounts for approximately 80% of the Macquarie CountryWide's assets in the US.