US investment giant Kennedy Wilson is to raise nearly €1bn from investors to spend on European property.
The Los Angeles-based firm, which has spent hundreds of millions of euro on Irish property, is poised to launch an initial public offering with the aim of raising £750m (€914m), the vast majority of which will go into commercial real estate in Europe.
The IPO means the firm is set to dramatically increase its spending here, with the fund expected to focus on property in Ireland, the UK and Spain.
Kennedy Wilson's plans for an IPO were first reported by Property Week.
The fund is the latest to have been set up by a US private equity firm with the specific intention of investing in European property.
Earlier this month it emerged that Blackstone – the biggest private equity firm in the world – had raised more than €4bn to invest in European real estate.
That fund, known as Blackstone Real Estate Partners Europe IV, is aimed at distressed European property, and industry sources have made clear that at least part of that fund would be aimed squarely at Ireland.
Blackstone bought a portfolio of buildings in Dublin this year and just missed out on the Central Park business park in south Dublin, which was reportedly won by a conglomerate led by Green REIT for €310m.
Kennedy Wilson has already been one of the biggest players from overseas in Irish property since the bust. It forked out some €306m for 16 commercial properties last year, and last month completed a deal to secure the loans held against the Shelbourne Hotel. It has also invested in Bank of Ireland – an investment that it turned a big profit.