Reports from Japan suggest U.S. real estate giant LaSalle Investment Management is joining forces with Tokyo Tatemono, whose core business is in real estate sales and leasing, to set up a special purpose vehicle to fund property acquisitions.

If reports are correct, it demonstrates LaSalle's efforts to step up its Japanese operations. At the start of the year, the firm announced plans to invest 100 billion ($961.3 million) in Japanese real estate over the course of 2005.

It is believed its first deal with Tokyo Tatemono involves the purchase of 19 properties from Japan Tobacco, which is looking to improve its balance sheet by selling non-core assets. The buildings are mostly leased to restaurants located in Tokyo. Reports indicate the new owners will continue with the current arrangement, and sell ABS paper backed by rents via the SPV to institutional investors.

(c) 2005 Asset Securitization Report and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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