Three-way battle over Norway's Entra heats up

OSLO, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Swedish real estate firm Balder said on Thursday it had raised its stake in Norway’s Entra to 15% from 10%, escalating a battle over the future of the Oslo-listed property company.

Swedish competitors SBB and Castellum are both seeking to buy Entra, while Balder, which made its first investment in the Norwegian firm on Dec. 7, has said it does not plan a full takeover.

The fight over Entra, Norway’s largest listed real estate firm, broke out on Nov. 24 when SBB launched an unsolicited cash and shares offer valued at 30 billion Norwegian crowns ($3.5 billion).

Castellum on Nov. 26 made a bid which it said would value Entra at close to 31 billion.

SBB withdrew its offer, but said on Wednesday it would seek to make a new proposal if it got access to more information.

Entra, which has set a Dec. 21 deadline for deciding what it will recommend to its shareholders, said on Thursday it would provide additional data to potential suitors.

The Norwegian government has agreed to sell its 8.24% stake in Entra to Castellum, with the caveat that the price for the state’s shares must be increased if Castellum raises its bid.

Entra’s share price was down 0.7% to 182.7 crowns at 0823 GMT, valuing the company at 33.3 billion crowns.

$1 = 8.6215 Norwegian crowns Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Mark Potter