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Ares Management to buy real estate investor AREA Property: WSJ

(Reuters) - Investment firm Ares Management will acquire AREA Property Partners, gaining the New York-based real estate investor's $6 billion in assets, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people briefed on the matter.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed but Ares, a Los Angeles-based investment firm with about $60 billion under management, will also buy out a minority stake in AREA held by the National Australia Bank , the newspaper reported.

Ares has $2 billion in property assets, mostly debt. AREA's $6 billion are mainly real estate equity investments in North America and Europe, it said. (http://link.reuters.com/tud97t)

Private equity firms like Blackstone Group LP have been investing in real estate as U.S. property prices have been rising over the past four years.

Tony Ressler, one of the founders of Ares declined to comment to the Journal. Lee Neibart, AREA's chief executive, could not be reached for comment, the paper said.

Ressler and AREA could not be reached for comment by Reuters outside of regular U.S. business hours.

(Reporting by Maria Ajit Thomas in Bangalore; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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