French mutual insurance company MACIF has sold its European shopping center portfolio to Dutch property company Corio in a $525 million deal — the largest open-market sale of its kind in Europe, according to Jones Lang LaSalle. The portfolio included 10 shopping centers: five in France, three in Italy and two in Spain.

For MACIF, the transaction was the first step in the company’s move away from shopping center ownership — a strategy initiated nearly a year ago, according to David Rendall, international director of Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle’s European Capital Markets team. The firm, along with Société Générale, acted as a co-advisor for MACIF by providing real estate analysis and management of corporate transactions because the buyer and seller were in different locations.

"This transaction goes beyond traditional real estate boundaries," Rendall said. "There’s a strong appetite for geographically diversified investment platform in a single transaction." MACIF still holds one retail property, the Gran Littoral in Marseilles, which currently is under litigation.

For Corio, the purchase expands the retail share of its property holdings from 59% to 65%, and gives the company its first assets in Italy — which, according to Rendall, made up half the value of the transaction.