Landsec and M&G Real Estate have taken advantage of new rules in the UK to launch a private real estate investment trust (REIT) that owns 25% of Bluewater shopping centre.

The Bluewater REIT is valued at £172m (€200m) and was launched this month following regulatory changes in the UK that allow REITs to be unlisted, provided institutional investors hold at least 70% of their ordinary share capital.

As previously reported, the reform – which also includes changes to holder-of-excessive-rights tax charge REIT – could make unlisted REITs particularly appealing to international investors.

Law firm Hogan Lovells said it advised Landsec and M&G Real Estate on the launch of Bluewater REIT on the first day of the new private REIT regime in the UK.

Landsec owns 74.99% of Bluewater REIT and an unnamed client of M&G Real Estate owns 25.01%.

Landsec also manages Bluewater shopping centre, the largest out-of-town shopping centre in the south of England, and in December increased its stake in the asset from 30% to 55%, before selling a 6.25% interest to M&G.

As part of the transaction, Lendlease reduced its stake in the centre from 50% to 25%. The remaining owners are Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC (17.5%), Royal London Asset Management (7.5%) and Abrdn (2.5%).

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