Black­stone raises $9.4b for Asia realty, equity funds

The Gulf Today - Business - - FRONT PAGE -

HONG KONG: Black­stone Group LP said it has raised about $9.4 bil­lion for two new funds - the largest-ever fund ded­i­cated to real es­tate in­vest­ments in Asia as well as its first pri­vate equity fund for the re­gion.

The funds add to a mas­sive in­dus­try-wide pool of money for Asian ac­qui­si­tions and in­vest­ments, with in­vestors at­tracted by rapid eco­nomic growth com­pared to other ma­jor mar­kets.

It raised $7.1 bil­lion for what it called its sec­ond re­gional “op­por­tunis­tic” real es­tate fund. Grow­ing ur­ban­i­sa­tion and ris­ing in­comes, par­tic­u­larly in China and In­dia, have boosted in­vestor ap­petite for shop­ping malls, ware­houses and other prop­erty as­sets.

“The size of this fund...gives us flex­i­bil­ity to pur­sue a range of op­por­tu­ni­ties and com­mit cap­i­tal with speed and scale,” Ken Ca­plan, global co-head of Black­stone Real Es­tate, said in a state­ment.

Black­stone’s real es­tate busi­ness was founded in 1991 and has about $120 bil­lion in cap­i­tal un­der man­age­ment. The port­fo­lio in­cludes ho­tel, of­fice, re­tail and in­dus­trial prop­er­ties in the United States, Europe, Asia and Latin Amer­ica.

Its first Asia-fo­cused prop­erty fund, which closed in 2014, raised $5.08 bil­lion.

The Asian pri­vate equity fund closed at about $2.3 bil­lion, Black­stone said, adding that it now has at least $3.8 bil­lion to in­vest in Asia equity when “as­so­ci­ated com­mit­ments” from its global buy­out fund are counted.

Roughly two-thirds of the pri­vate equity fund, as well as the con­tri­bu­tion from its global fund, will be used to in­vest in China and In­dia, said one per­son with di­rect knowl­edge of the mat­ter, de­clin­ing to be iden­ti­fied as de­tails of the in­vest­ment plans were not made pub­lic.

The fund will fo­cus on buy­ing con­trol­ling or sig­nif­i­cant mi­nor­ity stakes in sec­tors such as health­care, high-end man­u­fac­tur­ing and ser­vices, as well as goods and ser­vices geared to con­sumers who want to up­grade their life­styles, peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the plan told Reuters last year.

Black­stone, whose previous pri­vate equity in­vest­ments in Asia were from its global funds, did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment on its cap­i­tal de­ploy­ment plans.

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