On Our Radar: Deals we are paying attention to for their impact on industry.
Blackstone Group is spearheading an investment upswing in Chinese commercial real estate.
The New York-based private equity giant has executed two major deals this year and reportedly is mulling a third. If it occurs, the latest purchase would bring Blackstone’s investment via the three transactions to almost $3 billion.
Blackstone’s moves are an extension of last year’s surge of foreign investors entering China’s largest urban real estate markets. In 2018, foreign investment in Chinese real estate grew 62% to $11.6 billion, according to the Los Angeles-based real estate investment and services firm CBRE Group.
Foreigners see opportunities amid flagging demand for office and retail space in the country’s major cities. Vacancies have increased significantly as the Chinese economy has slowed and the government has reined in homegrown companies’ investment activity.
CBRE predicts that property funds targeting China will boost invested assets significantly over the next five years. Blackstone has been open about adding to its growing real estate portfolio, which has more than $136 billion in assets under management.
In February, Blackstone agreed to purchase 50% stakes in two shopping centers in Xi’an and Zhengzhou, along with a third center in South Korea, from The Taubman Company in a deal valued at $480 million. Taubman is a Bloomfield Hills, Michigan-based real estate investment trust with assets in the U.S. and Asia.
In March, Blackstone agreed to pay nearly $900 million to repurchase almost 70% of Hong Kong-based International Construction Investment Management Group, a real estate company. Blackstone reportedly is considering a $1.5 billion acquisition of Chamtime Plaza, which includes a shopping center and five office towers.
Last year, Blackstone and the Singapore real estate developer and investment firm CapitaLand were the leading property buyers. CapitaLand and the Singapore government executed 2018’s largest real estate deal, teaming up to purchase Shanghai’s tallest twin skyscrapers.
James Peter Rubin is a veteran journalist who has written and edited for CapitalWatch, ThirtyK, TheStreet.com, Forbes and the Economist Group, among other media outlets.