UPDATE 1-Blackstone denies seeking to acquire Brazil mall operator
(Adds Blackstone denial, quote)
RIO DE JANEIRO, April 3 (Reuters) - Investment firm Blackstone Group LP on Sunday said it is not considering an acquisition of Brazilian shopping mall operator BR Malls Participacoes SA, denying a report published early in the day by newspaper O Globo.
"We are not actively engaged in acquisition discussions for BR Malls," Blackstone said in an emailed statement.
The Brazilian newspaper, without citing sources for its information, said early Sunday that Blackstone had hired JP Morgan Chase & Co. to help it consider acquiring a controlling stake in BR Malls, which is based in Rio and is Brazil's biggest mall operator.
The paper said the acquisition would amount to Brazil's biggest-ever real estate transaction and would be valued at as much as 12 billion reais ($3.38 billion).
A spokeswoman for BR Malls, which is based in Rio and is Brazil's biggest mall operator, declined to comment on the report.
A spokeswoman for JP Morgan Chase also declined to comment. (Reporting by Paulo Prada and Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Andrew Hay)
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