POLAND - Peakside Capital has acquired Allied Irish Bank's (AIB) €800m Polish real estate fund management business and co-invested with Partners Group in two existing funds.

The deal provides a relatively low-cost entry point into the Polish market for Peakside, which span out of Merrill Lynch's global real estate business in 2010.

A source with knowledge of the deal said Peakside viewed the AIB subsidiary as a platform that would allow it to build up its interest in a growth market characterised by a strong macro position and an attractive demographic profile.

"It's a good first step for Peakside - and I mean a first step," said the source.

Roger Barris, founding partner of Peakside, said: "As one of the most resilient property markets in Europe, Poland has long been an area of focus for our growth ambitions.

"This acquisition provides us with an established operational platform in the region, brings a portfolio of attractive assets under our management and provides an attractive investment for our existing Peakside Real Estate Fund I."

In separate agreements, a 50-50 partnership between Peakside Capital and Partners Group acquired AIB's 9.87% interest in the €400m Polonia Property Fund and its 7.5% interest in the €800m Polonia Property Fund II. Both vehicles invest in Polish offices and have some exposure to other central European markets.

It is the first time Peakside has co-invested alongside Swiss-based Partners Group and the firm is understood to be scouting other opportunities to joint venture with the private markets investment manager.

No figures have been disclosed for the buyout of the AIB business, although AIB said in a statement it would have no material impact on its capital position.

In addition to the bank's deleveraging target - last year it shed €12.7bn in property loans - the deal is also influenced by a desire to retrench in its domestic market.

A spokeswoman for the bank did not confirm that further disposals were imminent, pointing to amortisation as a potential alternative mechanism.