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Brookfield Office Properties’ Bay Adelaide East tower in Toronto.

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Brookfield Office Properties is in exclusive talks to buy British developer Hammerson's London office portfolio for more than £500-million ($776-million U.S.), a source familiar with the deal told Reuters.

Hammerson put its office portfolio up for sale in February and said it would focus on retail property. It said it could sell its London office buildings individually or as one package over the next three years.

Brookfield, which owns $31-billion (U.S.) of offices in North American and Australia, already owns a 50-per-cent stake in the 100 Bishopsgate skyscraper scheme in London's City financial district.

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The sale comes as office developers struggle to find tenants in central London amid concerns over global economic weakness.

Law firm CMS Cameron McKenna pulled out of talks to pre-let a third of Hammerson's £485-million Principal Place scheme in central London in January.

Other schemes such as the Pinnacle skyscraper, billed as the tallest office tower in London's financial district, is on hold after a fruitless search for a tenant.

Hammerson declined to comment. Brookfield was not immediately available to comment.

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