Blackstone likely to sell Pune assets to Xander for around Rs 20 billion

US-based private equity firm Blackstone is in final talks with another PE fund Xander to sell its infotech parks in Pune for around Rs20 billion, said sources.

Earlier, Singapore-based CapitaLand was in talks with Blackstone to buy the parks, but it pulled out later. Blackstone is selling its BlueRidge special economic zone (SEZ) and another SEZ at Hinjewadi in Pune, which are not part of its joint ventures. The firm has bought 1.5-million-sq-ft Blue Ridge SEZ from PE fund IDFC Alternatives and another IT SEZ from DLF in Pune. 

A Xander spokesperson declined to comment on the subject. Blackstone also did not offer any comments. Blackstone has hired Morgan Stanley to sell the properties.

According to reports, Blackstone is putting its assets in Mumbai such as Express Towers and 247 Park and those in the National Capital Region in the upcoming REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) sponsored by Embassy Office Parks, a joint venture (JV) of Blackstone and Bengaluru-based Embassy group. The JV company has assets of over 30 million sq ft. However, sources said Blackstone and Embassy were unlikely to bring their Pune assets under the Reit. The JV is looking to raise $1 billion through the REIT.

Xander owns 6 million sq ft of office assets in India, with operating assets across Bengaluru, Chennai, and Delhi. It also has a mall firm called Virtuous Retail South Asia, in which Dutch pension fund APG has a stake. A number of big-ticket deals have happened in commercial properties in the recent months. 

Shapoorji Pallonji-Allianz combine is set to buy the Waverock property owned by Singaporean fund GIC and Tishman Speyer in Hyderabad. 

Recently, Blackstone entered a deal with Indiabulls Real Estate to buy a commercial property in Chennai for Rs8.5 billion. 

In March, Indiabulls entered a deal with Blackstone to sell 50 per cent stake in two commercial properties in Mumbai — Indiabulls Finance Centre and One Indiabulls Centre — to Blackstone for Rs47.50 billion.

Blackstone has invested over $5 billion across 30 real estate investments, of which $3.7 billion is in office space. 

It has built a portfolio of 78 million square feet with its partners.

In June, Blackstone Group 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.

It formed joint ventures with Embassy group for office properties in South and Panchshil Realty for properties in Western India. Blackstone also picked up 15 per cent stake in K Raheja Corp.

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