UPDATE 1-Qatar’s sovereign fund joins Crown Acquisitions to buy NY properties

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DUBAI (Reuters) – Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and private realty firm Crown Acquisitions have jointly bought a significant stake in a portfolio of prime New York retail properties owned by Vornado Realty Trust.

The statement came after Vornado had announced on Thursday that it had sold a stake in a portfolio of New York properties along Fifth Avenue and Broadway in Times Square for about $1.2 billion in cash in a deal in which it retains majority control of the assets. It had not named QIA as an investor.

QIA said it is jointly acquiring with its partner Crown Acquisitions a 24 percent stake in the portfolio of properties that are valued at $5.6 billion.

The portfolio of assets include one of New York’s most recognizable retail blocks and home to brands including MAC, Polo, Forever 21, and Disney, the statement said.

“This investment underlines QIA’s ambition to substantially increase our U.S. investments over the coming years, and our belief in the exciting long-term possibilities offered by New York City,” QIA Chief Executive Mansoor al-Mahmoud said in a statement.

QIA’s investment is part of its aim to boost its investments in the United States to $45 billion in the coming years, the statement said.

Qatar, whose wealth comes from the world’s largest exports of liquefied gas, manages about $300 billion in assets.

In December, new Mahmoud told Reuters the fund was focusing on “classic” investments in the West such as real estate and financial institutions, and would also accelerate investment in technology and healthcare.

With oil and gas prices growing over the past two years, Qatar has not departed from what it is best known for – snapping up big-name properties.

Reporting by Saeed Azhar; editing by David Evans

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