American Real Estate tycoon A Alfred Taubman, who made billions setting up shopping malls across the US, is now eyeing Indian shores.

With organised Retail Market hotting up in the country, NYSE-listed Taubman Centers Inc has initiated talks with private equity funds, including the Reliance Industries-backed Urban Infrastructure Opportunities Fund (UIOF), and Real Estate Developers.

Sources said a Taubman team working in India is exploring opportunities for developing as well as managing Commercial Space in India. The talks centre around forging either a pan-India joint venture with a big fund such as the Anand Jain managed UIOF, or forging multiple regional alliances with prominent developers across leading cities.

It is believed Taubman has been in talks with UIOF for 3-4 months now even though the progress of these parleys could not be ascertained at this point. An email query to UIOF did not elicit a response. In context, it must be mentioned that Taubman Asia was set up recently, with Hong Kong as its headquarters, for expanding in the Asian markets.

Two prominent south-based developers — Prestige Group, which is credited with building arguably one of the most successful Mall Space in India, and Shriram Properties, part of a diversified Chennai-based group — have held early parleys with Taubman. Shriram Properties declined to comment.

Prestige Group V-P (mall development) Neeraj Duggal said: “We have had initial talks with Taubman, but it is too early to comment. They will think of doing much more in India than just bringing in the money.”

Taubman is credited with running some of the popular malls in the US. In 2006, the average annual sales per sq ft in its malls was pegged at $539, making it possibly the most successful firms with respect to turning footprints into revenue. Taubman properties reported an occupancy rate of over 91% during 2006.