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UPDATE 2-Brookfield Asset to buy remaining stake in troubled real estate unit

(Adds details on BPY assets, job cuts)

April 1 (Reuters) - Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management Inc will buy the remaining stake in its commercial real estate business for about $6.5 billion, as it looks to rescue the pandemic-hit company that suffered massive declines in its property value.

The deal price for Brookfield Property Partners LP, one of the largest U.S. commercial real estate companies, was raised from $5.9 billion the alternative-asset manager offered in January this year, a statement from the companies showed on Thursday.

Brookfield already owned about two-thirds of the real estate firm's stock going into the deal, according to BPY's latest filings here.

BPY’s shares were hammered last year, falling about 21% as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the value of many of its properties as people shifted to remote working and kept away from malls and shopping centres.

BPY, which manages roughly $88 billion in assets including Canary Wharf in London and Brookfield Place in New York, expanded its footprint in the mall operator space in 2018 when it bought GGP Inc in a $15.8 billion deal.(reut.rs/3m9Oemp)

In September, the company was forced to lay off 20% of its workforce in its retail arm, according to media reports.

Mall landlords have also spent millions to rescue retailers that were on the brink of bankruptcy, with Brookfield Asset Management acquiring names such as J.C. Penney and Forever 21 last year.

Unitholders of Brookfield Property will get $18.17 per unit, a premium of 26% to stock’s last close on Dec. 31, before the Brookfield Asset Management deal announcement was first made.

Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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