BUSINESS

Blackstone in Talks with Bain to Sell $480 Million Stake in Top Indian REIT

Blackstone is in talks with Bain to sell a $480 million stake in India's top REIT.

Blackstone is talking about selling about half of its stake in Embassy Office Parks, India’s largest real estate investment trust, to private equity firm Bain Capital in a deal worth as much as $480 million at current prices, two people said.

The deal will mark US-based Bain Capital’s first REIT investment in India, with office space attracting investors as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes and many employees return to offices. For Blackstone, that means further selling off its Embassy stake as it restructures its portfolio.

The talks are still at a primary stage. The plan is to execute the trade through block trades on the Indian stock exchange in the coming weeks, but no timetable or pricing has been finalised, the first person with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Embassy Office Parks was the first listed REIT in India in 2019. It owns and operates more than 43.2 million square feet of office parks and office buildings in Bengaluru, Mumbai and other cities. It is also the largest office REIT in Asia.

REITs own and operate real estate assets, like how mutual funds hold stocks. They earn rent from the properties they manage, which they use to distribute dividends to investors.

Blackstone currently owns 24% of Embassy REIT, with a market capitalisation of nearly $4 billion. The people said the private equity group plans to sell about 10% to 12%. That would be worth $400 million to $480 million, based on Embassy REIT’s closing price on the Bombay Stock Exchange on Monday.

The block deal would be Blackstone’s fourth sale of its stake in the Embassy, ​​following sales in 2020, 2021 and 2022. In September, Blackstone sold a $400 million real estate investment trust to investors, including the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

Bain Capital manages more than $160 billion in assets globally and has invested more than $3 billion in India over the past decade, including in Axis Bank, India’s leading private bank.

For Blackstone, it’s about cashing in. The first people said that if the deal with Bain goes through, Blackstone will sell $1.4 billion worth of Embassy REIT units over the past three years.

 The US group has invested more than $11 billion in Indian companies and assets.

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