Morgan Stanley’s Australia Property Arm Worth At Least $2.3 Billion After Early Bids

Morgan Stanley’s (MS.N) sale of its Australian real estate unit, Investa Property Group, is expected to fetch more than A$3 billion ($2.3 billion) and has attracted more than 20 bids, a source with direct knowledge of the deal told Reuters.

Bankers selling the owner of A$3 billion of property, including office buildings in the cities of Sydney and Melbourne, plus management contracts for A$6 billion of property, closed a first round of bids this week with more than 20 expressions of interest, said the source on Thursday.

Nearly half of the bids came from Asia, including from China’s biggest privately owned business Fosun International Ltd (0656.HK) and sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp [CIC.UL], said the source.

The bids will be shortlisted before a final bid deadline of May 31, said the source who asked not to be named as the sale process is confidential.

Morgan Stanley declined to comment. Fosun and CIC did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

Bankers running the sale, Morgan Stanley and UBS AG (UBSN.S), also drew bids from the United States and South Africa, as well as from Australia, said the source.

The number of first-round bids was nearly half the total numbers of parties, 50, which requested due diligence on the asset when the sale process began in February, said the source.

Another source told Reuters the sale is expected to take until the end of 2015 to be completed. Morgan Stanley may also examine the option of splitting Investa, which also owns developed and undeveloped land, and selling off its assets in separate deals, the second source said.

Source : reuters