Blackstone sells 6% stake in Embassy Office Parks REIT and raises over Rs 2020 crore

MUMBAI: Global private equity group Blackstone reduced its stake in real estate investment trust (REIT) Embassy Office Parks REIT through open market block trades on Wednesday.

The institutional investor raised $275 million or more than Rs 2,025 crore by selling around 6% stake in the listed entity. The transactions had the effect of reducing Blackstone’s stake in the REIT to 32%, from 38% previously.

Prior to that, Blackstone had exposure worth $1.7 billion in Embassy Office Parks REIT.

Blackstone sold around 57 million shares of Embassy Office Parks REIT at Rs 355.2 per unit, while the certificate closed the session at Rs 355.84.

Institutional investors and funds such as BNP Paribas Arbitrage, American Funds Global Balanced Fund, Stichting Depositary APG Tactical Real Estate Pool and Integrated Core Strategies (Asia) are among the main entities that have purchased these REIT shares in transactions in block.

ET has previously reported that Blackstone is currently in advanced talks to acquire visa processing firm VFS Global for more than $1 billion.

Co-sponsored by Blackstone Group and Embassy Group, Embassy Office Parks REIT is the first Indian REIT to list in April 2019.

This is the second time that Blackstone has reduced its exposure to the REIT through open market block trades. By June 2020, he had raised over $300 million by selling an 8.7% stake in the listed entity. Proceeds from this transaction were used to return cash to participants of Blackstone’s closed-end fund who had invested in the REIT.

After the partial sale of the stake last year, Blackstone held a 46.3% stake in Embassy Office Parks REIT.

In December, Blackstone and Embassy sold Embassy TechVillage, an integrated office park in Bangalore, to Embassy Office Parks REIT. Apart from that, a fundraising exercise by the REIT through a qualified institutional placement (QIP) in December had lowered Blackstone’s stake in the REIT to 38% from over 46%.

Embassy REIT owns and operates a 42.4 million square foot portfolio of eight infrastructure-type office parks and four downtown office buildings in India’s major office markets of Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune and the region of the national capital.

Its portfolio includes 32.3 million square feet of completed operating space and has more than 190 global companies as occupants.

Blackstone is India’s largest office, retail and warehousing owner and has so far deployed over $11 billion in commercial real estate in the country. Blackstone’s total assets under management are over $50 billion, including real estate and private equity holdings.