Xander, Ascendas among favourites to buy Blackstone's Pune IT parks

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Private equity firms Xander Group, Shapoorji Pallonji-Allianz, and Singapore-based investor-developer Ascendas-Singbridge have emerged as front-runners to buy Blackstone’s information technology (IT) parks in Pune, sources said. 

“Though other global investors such as CPPIB, GIC and Brookfield, among others, have put in bids, Xander, Shapoorji-Allianz, and Ascendas are the finalists,” sources said.

The IT parks are based in the Hinjewadi area of Pune and have over 3 million sq ft area. The property is valued at about Rs 20 billion, sources said.

Blackstone is selling its 1.5-million-sq-ft Blue Ridge Special Economic Zone (SEZ) it had bought from private equity fund manager IDFC Alternatives and another IT SEZ that it bought from DLF in Pune. Blackstone is also selling its 1.3-million-sq-ft Galaxy IT park in Noida.

“The assets are 100 per cent owned by Blackstone and are not part of any joint ventures,” sources said. It is the biggest owner of offices and owns 70-million-sq-ft area along with its partners in the country.

Blackstone, Xander declined to comment. Ascendas did not respond to the mail and Shapoorji-Allianz could not be contacted. According to sources, Citi and Morgan Stanley are advising Blackstone on the sale.

Blackstone along with joint venture partners Embassy Group and Pune-based Panchshil Realty is planning to float real estate investment trusts.

Big-ticket deals have picked up the pace in commercial real estate. Recently, Singapore-based sovereign fund GIC acquired 40 per cent stake in the rental arm of Prestige Group. GIC had also bought 40 per cent of DLF promoters in DLF’s rental arm.

Shapoorji Pallonji has tied up for a $500-million platform, which is said to be buying Adani’s office property in Mumbai’s Bandra-Kurla Complex area for Rs 20 billion.

Xander currently owns 6 million sq ft of office assets in India, with operating assets across multiple cities including Bengaluru, Chennai, and Delhi. It also has a mall company called Virtuous Retail South Asia in which Dutch pension fund APG has a stake. Both, Xander and Ascendas-Singbridge have a strong presence in Indian offices. Ascendas owns IT parks in Bengaluru and Hyderabad among others. 

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