Italian insurer Poste Vita is investing in real estate for the first time via a joint venture with an unnamed insurer.

IPE Real Estate understands that the Poste Italiane subsidiary is in exclusivity to jointly buy a portfolio of three Italian office properties.

The sale – for around €230m – is expected to close by year-end, with Morgan Stanley advising the joint venture.

Seller Unicredit, according to local media reports, is using advisory firm Cushman & Wakefield for the sale of the portfolio. Cushman & Wakefield began marketing the portfolio – known as “La Grande Bellezza”, or Great Beauty – earlier this year.

The three assets – Palazzo del Monte di Pieta’, Galleria Sciarra Colonna di Carbognano and Palazzo Verospi – are all located in central Rome. Tenants include Unicredit and Italian government bodies.

As reported this month, Poste Vita is close to awarding a mandate to invest in European real estate for the first time. The investor is likely to name its preferred manager in the coming weeks.

The institution is looking to invest via an indirect, tailored fund-based strategy in euro-zone properties. Poste Vita could allocate as much as 3% to the asset class, IPE Real Estate reported earlier this year.