US firms acquiring assets from distressed European banks

With Europe deep in financial trouble, US firms, eyeing an opportunity to make quick gains are buying up bank owned assets from Miami to Dublin.

The sales are taking place as European banks  struggle to raise quick capital and shrink their balance sheets under stiff regulatory scrutiny.

According to some analysts, such assets may total up to $3 trillion over the next 18 months.

Internet search giant Google earlier this year acquired the Dublin building where its European headquarters are based, from Ireland's National Asset Management Agency, which bought it after a bank rescue by the Irish government.

On 19 December, the Blackstone Group entered into a deal to buy $300 million in real estate loans from Commerzbank with backing of properties, including the Mondrian South Beach hotel in Florida and four Sofitel hotels in Chicago, Miami, Minneapolis and San Francisco.

German financial giant Commerzbank is being pressured by regulators to raise €5.3 billion in new capital by mid-2012.