Soros nets pounds 31m in property shares sales

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The Independent Online
GEORGE SOROS, the Wall Street speculator, has sold his holding in Berkeley Group, the builder, and cut his stake in British Land by more than half, for big profits, writes Tom Stevenson.

The disposal of British Land shares originally acquired when the two parties announced a property investment partnership last summer, raised more than pounds 20m. The Berkeley share sale was worth about pounds 11m.

Property analysts viewed the sales as a further sign that property and construction shares may be overvalued. Since the sectors peaked in February, fears of rising bond yields and interest rates have pushed shares lower.

Despite worries about values, the proceeds of the British Land placing by SG Warburg, the investment bank, last Friday, are to be reinvested in direct property as part of the Quantum/British Land joint venture.

Agreeing a joint venture with Mr Soros, who made more than dollars 1bn by betting against sterling before its exit from the exchange rate mechanism, was considered to be a coup for John Ritblat, chairman of British Land.

Its shares have risen 45 per cent since Mr Soros took his stake. He first invested in Berkeley about two years ago, when the shares were trading at about 250p. They have risen more than 60 per cent.