Blackstone seeks more than $600 mln in damages in Italy property dispute

Blackstone Group (BX.N) has requested a court in New York to merge two lawsuits related to a disputed property sale in Italy, while seeking damages for more than $600 million from its former owner, according to a filing seen by Reuters.

The dispute concerns the sale of the historic headquarters of Italian publisher RCS (RCSM.MI) in central Milan.

RCS was not immediately available for comment.

The publisher of influential daily Corriere della Sera launched arbitration proceedings in late 2018 to nullify the 2013 sale to Blackstone, saying the U.S. investment firm had paid too low a price at a time when RCS faced financial difficulties.

Blackstone, which paid 120 million euros ($145 million) for the offices, had in turn accused RCS of falsely claiming it still owns the building and of improperly blocking its sale to Germany’s Allianz (ALVG.DE).

In May, a Milan arbitral tribunal ruled in favour of Blackstone, rejecting all claims advanced by the Italian publisher.