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Agnelli Family, Greek Magnate Join Goldman in Bid for Rockefeller Center

October 12, 1995

NEW YORK (AP) _ The family that controls Italian automaker Fiat SpA and a Greek shipping magnate have joined a group led by the investment firm Goldman, Sachs & Co. in its bid for Rockefeller Center.

Their money leaves investors David Rockefeller and New York real estate developer Tishman Speyer Properties L.P. putting up just 10 percent of the overall buyout funds, according to a filing Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Goldman will put in half.

The news represents the most recent development in the complex and sometimes contentious battle to win control of the Manhattan building complex, which has been mired in bankruptcy since May.

Besides the Goldman group, two others have made proposals for the Art Deco landmark.

Goldman _ along with its Whitehall Street investment fund, Tishman and David Rockefeller _ had proposed buying the center’s publicly traded mortgage holder for $7.75 a share, or $297 million.

On Tuesday, the group said it had discovered additional liabilities and would have to lower its bid. But it did not suggest a new price, saying instead it would need to meet with the mortgage holder, Rockefeller Center Properties Inc.

The group’s original proposal had envisioned the assumption of $800 million in liabilities.

In the SEC filing Thursday, the Goldman group not only disclosed the two new investors had come aboard but also spelled out the stake each party would have in the overall investment.

_Goldman and Whitehall will invest $220 million, or 50 percent of the total funds.

_Exor Group S.A., a company controlled by the Agnelli family, which controls Fiat, will put in $90 million. That comes to 20 percent of the overall investment.

_Troutlet Investments Corp., controlled by Greek shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos, will put in an identical $90 million for a similar 20 percent stake.

_David Rockefeller, whose father built the property, will invest $20 million for a 5 percent stake.

_Tishman Speyer will also invest $20 million for a 5 percent stake.

The Exor and Troutlet investments do not change the size of the Goldman group’s bankroll. What they put in, the government filing said, makes up a part of a total of $220 million that David Rockefeller and Tishman Speyer had initially committed to make.

In addition to buying the mortgage holder, funds put in by the Goldman group would be used to buy out Rockefeller Center Properties convertible securities that are held by Goldman and Whitehall as well as for operating funds to run the center.

Rockefeller Center Properties is slated to take ownership of the 12-building complex from the center’s Japanese-controlled owners, according to a deal announced Sept. 12.

The oldest of the three active proposals for the center comes from a group that includes Chicago investor Sam Zell, General Electric Co. and Walt Disney Co.

Zell’s investors, the only group to have an agreement with the mortgage holder, last week proposed sweetening terms of its $250 million offer to let existing stockholders retain a bigger stake. It also said it would consider buying Rockefeller Center Properties outright.

The investment fund Gotham Partners L.P. has made a proposal for the center that would leave existing shareholders in complete control.

Gotham, which itself owns 5.55 percent of the mortgage holder, would accomplish that by raising funds to run the center by selling new shares in the mortgage holder, and giving current stockholders first dibs on buying the stock for a below-market $5.50 a share.

The Goldman group has extended its offer until next Monday, when the Rockefeller Center Properties board is to meet.

The mortgage holder and the center’s owners are scheduled to present a bankruptcy reorganization plan at a court hearing next Tuesday.

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