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News Corp's Manhattan headquarters said to be put on the market

[NEW YORK] Ivanhoe Cambridge, the real estate arm of Canadian pension fund Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec, is looking to sell 1211 Avenue of the Americas, which serves as News Corp's Manhattan headquarters, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

The 2 million-square-foot tower could fetch as much as US$2 billion, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn't public. Ivanhoe has hired brokerage Eastdil Secured to market the property, the person said.

A representative for Ivanhoe declined to comment. Real Estate Alert, a trade newsletter, reported on the potential sale earlier Wednesday.

Ivanhoe and its partner, Callahan Capital Partners, purchased the building in two phases, acquiring it in full last year in a deal that valued it at US$1.75 billion. The 45-story tower almost lost its marquee tenant when Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox Inc and News Corp entered a deal with developer Larry Silverstein to move to 2 World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. The companies last year decided to stay at their current offices.

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Sales of commercial properties have declined amid concern that prices have peaked following six years of record-shattering growth. Transaction volume is down 15 per cent this year compared with 2016, according to Real Capital Analytics Inc. Still, Manhattan has had some blockbuster deals in recent months, such as Chinese conglomerate HNA Group Co's US$2.21 billion acquisition of 245 Park Ave.

News Corp, owner of the Wall Street Journal, competes against Bloomberg LP in providing financial news and information.