HONG KONG?Blackstone Group LP is in discussions to sell a roughly $2.3 billion portfolio of Japanese properties to China's Anbang Insurance Group Co., according to people familiar with the situation.
The deal would be the latest sale of global real-estate assets by the U.S. private-equity giant to Chinese companies eager to buy property assets abroad. In October, Blackstone agreed to sell a 25% stake in Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. to Chinese conglomerate HNA Group for $6.5 billion. Chinese insurer Anbang earlier this year bought the bulk of the assets that made up Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc. for around $5.5 billion from Blackstone, and the U.S. firm guided Hilton's sale of New York's marquee Waldorf Astoria to Anbang for a record-breaking $1.95 billion in 2014.
The discussions between Anbang and Blackstone for the Japan property portfolio were earlier reported by Reuters.
During the past three years, as Chinese companies have plowed increasing amounts of money into assets abroad, New York-based Blackstone or its portfolio companies have sold at least $16 billion in hotels, office buildings and other overseas real-estate assets to Chinese buyers, not including the Japan deal under discussions, according to Dealogic and research by The Wall Street Journal.
Hotels and other property assets have been in the crosshairs of Chinese companies during their record-breaking overseas acquisition spree this year. That rush is in part propelled by expectations that the yuan will continue to weaken, meaning the value and revenue of assets abroad would appreciate in yuan terms.
Chinese buyers are particularly eager to snatch up property assets because they tend to require less hands-on management than industrial firms and are less politically sensitive.
Blackstone, which calls itself the world's biggest private-equity real-estate firm, with $102 billion in property assets, is in a prime position to cut deals. It has also been willing to deal with Chinese buyers, like Anbang, whose relative inexperience with Western deal-making and opaque ownership structure have made some other U.S. sellers uneasy.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 21, 2016 10:45 ET (15:45 GMT)
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