Norway's central bank to invest sovereign fund in UK and US

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The Independent Online

Norway's sovereign wealth fund is on the verge of an $18bn (£12.5bn) shopping spree for landmark British and American properties.

Norges Bank, Norway's central bank, which manages investments made from Norway's vast energy surplus, is understood to be ready to make its first investments by the end of the summer.

Paul Golding, the former Merrill Lynch banker who heads the fund's UK arm, had been expected to start investing money for the fund last year.

However Norges needed approval from the country's government, which was not forthcoming during the financial crisis last year.

Mr Golding's three-man investment team is understood to have stepped up talks with property advisers in recent months ahead of getting the needed permission.

Norges is likely to invest as a minority stakeholder in landmark buildings in both the UK and US while prices are low. If this proves successful, it will continue to invest in other markets.

In other property news, Land Securities, the Ftse 100 giant, was rumoured to be the subject of a stakebuilding exercise by US tycoon Samuel Zell on Friday. Mr Zell owns the Chicago Cubs baseball team.