Public Storage Inc. sold 51 percent of Shurgard Europe to a U.S. retirement fund after scrapping initial plans for a public offering of shares late last year.

The sale, originally announced in January, was to New York Common Retirement Fund, which paid $604 million plus an adjustment for the unit's earnings in the first quarter, Public Storage said Tuesday in a statement.

The Glendale-based real estate investment trust bought both the domestic and European assets of Seattle-based Shurgard Storage Centers Inc., the parent of the European self-storage unit, which is Europe's largest self-storage operator, for $5 billion two years ago. Public Storage also canceled a sale of between 46 percent and 56 percent of its stake in the company in June due to "adverse market conditions."

Public Storage then decided to spin off an initial public offering for the European storage facility, which Public Storage said at the time should've generated as much as $1.1 billion, which would have been used to reduce debt and fund additional developments.

Shurgard Europe had 174 centers of operation with about 9 million square feet of rentable area in Europe as of Dec. 31, according to the statement.

Public Storage still holds a 49 percent interest in the company and will receive a fee from the unit under a licensing agreement allowing it to use the "Shurgard Europe" name. Public Storage also still maintains its stake in the U.S.-based parent company of Shurguard and its 500 domestic storage locations.

Shares in Public Storage were up 3 percent to $91.29 in early trading Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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