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Villar Mir Sells 50% Of Canalejas To PokerStars Founder

13 February 2017 – Expansión

Mark Scheinberg, the co-founder of the website PokerStars, has fought off other candidates, such as the Middle Eastern fund Adia, the real estate fund TH Real Estate and the banker Jaime Gilinski in the bid for the 50% stake in the company Centro Canalejas de Madrid that Villar Mir put up for sale last year.

The Israelí businessman and Isle of Man resident will pay €225 million for half of the development company behind the complex, and OHL will receive €78.85 million of that amount, after it sold the 17.5% stake that it owned in the company through its subsidiary OHL Desarrollos, confirmed the company last Thursday in a statement to Spain’s National Securities and Exchange Commission (CNMV).

Following the operation, OHL Desarrollos and Grupo Villar Mir, which will continue as shareholders of the company with stakes of 17.5% and 32.5%, respectively, will retain control over the management of the project until it opens. The sale will generate a profit of approximately €29 million for OHL.

Scheinberg, who is 43 years old and who has a fortune worth $4,100 million according to Forbes, thanks to the success of his online gaming portal, has whereby become the new partner in the project that Villar Mir is undertaking in the centre of Madrid. It involves the renovation of seven former Santander office buildings into a luxury complex containing a Four Seasons hotel, c. 20 high-end homes and a shopping arcade covering 9,000 m2. (…).

For this development, Villar Mir created a company in which its subsidiary Inmobiliaria Espacio owned a 75% stake, with the remaining 25% owned by OHL, which also assumed the roles of promoter, developer and construction company. The budget for the development was set at €500 million, an amount that the group was intending to fund in its entirety.

Nevertheless, problems with the group’s builder caused Villar Mir to propose the sale of a minority stake in the complex, amongst other divestments (…).

To accelerate this sale, Grupo Villar Mir engaged the real estate consultancy firm Colliers last September. A multitude of investors, from all sorts of backgrounds, were interested in the asset. In the end, the vendor opted for Scheinberg as a partner in its Madrilenian project. (…).

Project

The Canalejas Complex will open at the beginning of 2019, three and a half years later than planned, after work at the site was temporarily suspended due to differences in opinion regarding the conservation of the protected elements of the properties. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz and Carlos Morán)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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