Soros firm buys pounds 12m stake in Greycoat

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The Independent Online
GEORGE SOROS, the speculator, yesterday moved closer to buying a large part of the City of London after one of his companies spent pounds 12m on a stake in the developer Greycoat.

Delancey Estates, a property group controlled by Mr Soros's Quantum Realty Interfunding, became Greycoat's second-largest shareholder after buying a 7.1 per cent stake in an end-of-year swoop.

City analysts said the purchase could herald a bid for Greycoat, whose shares have been languishing well below its 220p net asset value. The shares closed up 5p at 177p.

Greycoat is a leading player in the Square Mile office market, with several high-profile developments. The company is part of the consortium that bought the International Financial Centre (formerly NatWest Tower) for pounds 226m in July.

Delancey, where John Ritblat, the chairman of British Land, and his son James have a 30 per cent stake, is understood to have bought over 7 million shares at 168p per share from Bryan Myerson and Julian Treger. Their UK Active Value Fund has been trying to offload its holding after failing to force a merger between Greycoat and Moorfield Estates.

Mr Soros's move comes only weeks after Greycoat was reported to have received a tentative approach from Wates City.