June 23 (Bloomberg) -- Apollo Global Management LLC, Leon Black’s private-equity firm, is the final bidder for WestLB AG’s real estate finance unit as German regulators force the lender to sell assets, two people with knowledge of the process said.
Apollo-managed funds bid about 400 million euros ($567 million) for Westdeutsche Immobilien Bank AG, known as WestImmo, said the people, who asked not to be named because the negotiations aren’t public. A deal may be signed next month.
WestLB has previously rejected bids for WestImmo as unacceptable, causing the bank to miss a European Commission- ordered deadline to sell the unit by the end of 2010. Buying WestImmo would give New York-based Apollo a platform to expand its property financing throughout Europe and the U.S.
Spokesmen for WestLB and Apollo declined to comment.
WestImmo, based in Mainz, Germany, earned 94.8 million euros last year, it reported in April. The company said at the time that the forced sale process had hurt new business development. It has offices in London, Madrid, Paris, Prague, Warsaw, New York and Tokyo.
State-owned WestLB is selling assets to win European Commission approval for a bailout after the company ran up losses during the financial crisis. In May it shelved efforts to find a buyer for the whole company and said it would sell assets and shrink into a Verbundbank, a regionally focused lender that serves savings banks. The European Commission must accept the Dusseldorf-based lender’s restructuring plans, due by June 30, to grant approval for the state aid.
Apollo went public in March, raising $565.4 million, 13 percent more than it originally sought, in an initial stock sale. The firm also increased the number of shares sold.
--With assistance from Andrew Blackman in Berlin and Aaron Kirchfeld in Frankfurt. Editors: Kara Wetzel, Rob Urban
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