Aareal Bank sells majority stake in Immobilien Scout (DE/AU)

Aareal Bank AG has sold its 66.22% stake in Immobilien Scout GmbH, Berlin, to a syndicate of investors led by Macquarie Bank Ltd and Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd, both based in Sydney, Australia. The purchase price values Immobilien Scout GmbH, the market leader amongst property internet portals in Germany, at €540 million.

This non-recurring effect will increase the consolidated net income after minority interests by approx. €140 million. Additionally, retained earnings in accordance with IFRS will be increased by around €14 million. The bank has thus raised its previous target of net return on equity after taxes in excess of 13% for the 2007 financial year to clearly over 20%.

Within the scope of realigning its group structure, to focus on the core business segments of Structured Property Financing and Consulting/Services to the institutional housing sector, Aareal Bank had indicated that it would examine strategic options regarding its shareholding in Immobilien Scout.

"By increasing our stake back in April, we built the foundation for maximizing the value of the stake held in Immobilien Scout for Aareal Bank and its shareholders," said Dr. Wolf Schumacher, Chairman of the Management Board of Aareal Bank. "We are very satisfied with the selling price agreed upon. The successful sale will generate additional capital which we will then be able to invest in further developing our core businesses."

"We already pursued a strategy of consistently divesting non-strategic shareholdings over recent years, to fully concentrate on developing our core businesses," said Hermann J. Merkens, Members of Aareal Bank's Management Board, adding that "the ImmoScout transaction represents a further key milestone in this context."

Scout24 AG, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom AG and Aareal Bank's coshareholder in Immobilien Scout GmbH, has a pre-emptive right. The transfer of the stake is also subject to approval by the Supervisory Board of Immobilien Scout GmbH. This has been taken into account in the purchase agreement, with provisions included to prevent any adverse effects for Aareal Bank. Furthermore, the sale to the syndicate is subject to approval by the German Federal Cartel Office in Berlin. The closing of the transaction, at which time the sales proceeds will be recognised, is expected before the end of the year.

Aareal Bank had already acquired an additional stake of approx. 24% in the capital of Immobilien Scout GmbH from private equity investors in April 2007, bringing its total stake to approx. 54% at that time. The bank subsequently raised its shareholding to 66.22% through several additional purchases.

Source: Aareal Bank

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