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Leading European Hedge Fund Takes Large Stake In Hong Kong's Link REIT

by Mary Swire, Tax-News.com, Hong Kong

02 December 2005


One of Europe's largest hedge funds has bought up a reported 18% of the publicly traded shares in the recently launched Hong Kong Link REIT, the world's largest initial public offering in a real estate investment trust.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the investment by the $3 billion hedge fund Childrens Investment Fund Management (UK) Ltd., also known as TCI, was valued at about US$537 million at the close of trading in the shares on Wednesday.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the report stated that several other hedge funds have also built up large equity positions in the REIT, with some of these funds having bought more than 5% of the shares.

The paper went on to suggest that the presence of so many hedge funds in the fund could prove politically sensitive in Hong Kong if they attempted to improve shareholder returns by exerting their influence over the management of the fund.

The Link REIT's initial public offering in November raised $2.5 billion, making it the world's largest IPO for a REIT. The IPO had originally been scheduled to take place late last year, but had to be postponed after a public housing tenant took the Hong Kong authorities to court claiming that the government had breached the law with regard to the manner of the sale.

The retail tranche of the offering was about 19.5 times covered, although this is substantially less than the HK$280 billion placed in the aborted sale last year. The institutional tranche of the Link REIT offering saw orders of at least HK$167 billion and was at least twelve times oversubscribed.


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