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Signa Buys KaDeWe, Karstadt Sites

The Austrian real estate company's acquisition gave a strong boost to the German property market.

PARIS — On a last-minute Christmas shopping spree this past weekend, Austrian real estate company Signa acquired the site of Berlin’s iconic department store KaDeWe along with 16 other Karstadt locations, giving a strong boost to the German property market.

This story first appeared in the December 27, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The Innsbruck-based real estate giant said it paid 1.1 billion euros, or $1.45 billion at current exchange, to acquire the collection of buildings from HighStreet, a consortium that includes Whitehall, the Goldman Sachs property fund, and Deutsche Bank’s RREEF.

“We are on a hunt for prime locations in Europe. This has been our core business and will remain so in the future,” a spokesman for Signa told WWD.

The KaDeWe building alone is reported to have changed hands for 500 million euros, or $659.3 million at current exchange rates.

The acquisition follows the purchase of Munich’s Oberpollinger and other Karstadt property by Signa in 2011. The Austrian company owned by investor René Benko is currently also developing an ambitious luxury retail project worth 500 million euros, or $659.3 million at current exchange, in downtown Vienna.

According to the new landlord, KaDeWe and the other 16 sites will continue to be operated by Karstadt on a long-term basis. More details regarding the transaction, which ranks among Germany’s largest property deals this year, are set to be revealed during a press conference early next year.