Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Good Sign for the Real Estate Market

A bottom needs to be found, and this should help. From Bloomberg

Blackstone Raises Record $10.9 Billion Property Fund (Update1)

By Hui-yong Yu and Jason Kelly

April 1 (Bloomberg) -- Blackstone Group LP, manager of the world's biggest leveraged buyout fund, raised a record $10.9 billion to invest in property as the U.S. housing slump pushes global real-estate prices lower.

The fund, the New York-based firm's ninth property pool, brings to $25.7 billion the capital it has raised to buy real estate since 1992, New York-based Blackstone said in a statement today. The company is raising a separate fund of more than $1 billion for Western Europe.

``There should be attractive investment opportunities for this capital, given the market dislocation that exists today,'' Jonathan Gray, senior managing director and co-head of Blackstone's real-estate group, said in the statement.

Blackstone is expanding real estate investing as the market for corporate buyouts remains all but frozen. Its real-estate funds have delivered an average annual return of 31 percent after fees since 1992, higher than private equity or hedge funds, the firm said in government filings prepared for its initial public offering last year.

The firm, led by Stephen Schwarzman, last year completed the biggest-ever buyouts in the real estate and hotel industries. It acquired Sam Zell's Equity Office Properties Trust for $39 billion including debt in February 2007 and quickly resold more than $28 billion of the buildings to pay down debt. Blackstone bought Hilton Hotels Corp. for $26 billion with assumed debt last October...

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