Blackstone in talks to buy three malls to push retail realty play

US-based private equity major Blackstone Group is stepping up efforts to spread its retail real estate assets footprint across the country and is currently in talks to acquire three retails malls, said two persons familiar with the development.

These proposed acquisitions spread over around 2 million sq ft will push Blackstone’s retail portfolio from 5.1 million sq ft to over 7 million sq ft, making it the largest retail mall operator in India

“To support the next level of growth in retail portfolio, Blackstone is eyeing opportunities in both tier-I and -II cities. The sizes of these assets vary from 2 lakh sq ft to 1 million sq ft, depending on the location that makes them commercially viable,” said one of the persons mentioned above.

Blackstone, through its retail subsidiary Nexus Malls, has charted out an aggressive plan to expand its current portfolio of eight retail malls acquired over the past two years. The private equ ..

Blackstone has recently roped in former managing director of Godrej Consumer Products and Hindustan Unilever’s executive director — New Ventures, Dalip Sehgal as CEO at Nexus Malls, to help its strategy to grow retail assets portfolio.

“We are committed to grow our retail portfolio and bring in the best management talent to provide high quality experience for both our customers and retail partners. Dalip is a seasoned professional with over 38 years of consumer facing experience and I h ..

Both Parikh and Sehgal, however, declined to comment on the proposed acquisitions. As part of the new assignment, Sehgal would be focusing on accelerating the growth trajectory of the business and building a best in class retail business.

“Our current annual sales from existing assets is around Rs 3,000 crore and we are on track to achieving 15-20% annual growth in this number for the next couple of years. We are currently upgrading the consumers’ experience at all of our properties,” S ..

Blackstone’s current portfolio of retail assets include 1.15-million-sq-ft Elante Mall in Chandigarh, nearly 1-million-sq-ft Seawoods Grand Central Mall in Navi Mumbai and two assets each in Indore and Pune. In November 2015, it had also acquired two malls in Amritsar and Ahmedabad from Alpha G Corp.

Over the past few years, Blackstone has emerged as the most aggressive institutional investor in India’s real estate sector, picking up properties across major cities in deals that are turn ..blackstone

The private equity player established its India office in August 2005, and since then has committed over $7 billion to companies in the country.

In its real estate portfolio, Blackstone has over 27 investments that own 56million sq ft across 28 operating office and non-office assets. Of its total $4.1 billion real estate investments, it has invested $2.8 billion in office real estate assets, while $1.3 billion has gone towards non-office real estate assets. It also has 19.2 million sq f ..

Large global institutional investors, including Blackstone Group, Brookfield Asset Management, GIC, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), Goldman Sachs and Qatar Investment Authority have been investing aggressively in Indian real estate assets over the past few years.

After a few years of reduced focus on retail real estate, private equity firms have set their eyes again on retail real estate assets in the backdrop of rising consumption levels and strategy to diversify their in ..

With an aim to creating a portfolio of assets as the Indian market expands, some of the leading global private equity and sovereign funds, including Blackstone Group, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), APG Asset Management, Xander Group and GIC have started investing in retail real estate, and this trend is expected to strengthen further.

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