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Blackstone to sell BioMed for $14.6B; Simon JV deal talks for J.C. Penney stall

S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of real estate news stories and more published throughout the week.

A large majority of European, U.S. and U.K. real estate executives surveyed by advisory firm Duff & Phelps expect property valuations to continue falling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and an even larger majority believe a rebound will begin in 2021.

Of the 325 senior directors the firm surveyed, 39% expect valuations to fall 5% to 10%, and another 31% predict a greater drop. Nine out of 10 respondents expect valuations to begin rising again in the coming calendar year.

In the long run, 37% of respondents expect the retail property sector to suffer the most, while 36% believe hotels will fare worst. The largest portion of respondents, 36%, believe industrial and logistics properties will perform best over time, followed by 26% who favor residential properties.

READ MORE: Sign up for our weekly coronavirus newsletter here, and read our latest coverage on the crisis here.

Bumper deals

* The Blackstone Group Inc.'s Blackstone Real Estate Partners VIII LP and co-investors agreed to sell BioMed Realty for $14.6 billion. BioMed, which is a private owner of life science office buildings across the U.S., will be acquired by a group led by its existing investors.

* Americold Realty Trust agreed to buy temperature-controlled warehouse company Agro Merchants Group LLC in a $1.74 billion deal from an investor group led by funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management LP. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter or in the first quarter of 2021.

* Simon Property Group Inc. and Brookfield Property Partners LP's discussions to buy bankrupt J. C. Penney Co. Inc.'s retail operations with its lenders fell through in recent days, Bloomberg News reported, citing unnamed sources, who added that the parties may now opt for mediation to figure out the possibility and terms of closing a potential transaction.

Aiming higher

* Funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management Inc. acquired a U.S. telecommunications platform from LendLease for an undisclosed amount. The deal includes a portfolio of operating cell towers and a pipeline of contracted towers under development.

* Normandy Properties Ltd. agreed on a preliminary deal with Sterling Bay Cos. LLC to buy the headquarters of McDonald's Corp. at 110 N. Carpenter St. in Chicago for roughly $420 million, the Chicago Tribune reported, citing people familiar with the deal.

Macro view

* The U.S. topped the list of countries across the globe with the highest number of hotel and room openings during the course of the ongoing pandemic. A total of 521 properties were opened in the U.S. between the start of March and the end of September, accounting for 55,395 rooms, according to STR, which tracks the hospitality industry. China opened 23,470 rooms during the period, and Japan opened 16,304 rooms.

* Third-quarter investment in nontraded real estate investment trusts surged 48% sequentially to $1.5 billion as fundraising rebounded further off early-2020 lows, according to the latest data from investment banking firm Robert A. Stanger & Co. Inc.

Call for action

* Altisource Portfolio Solutions SA, which owns a 5.9% stake in Front Yard Residential Corp., called on the REIT to liquidate its assets, echoing recent assertions by Front Yard investor and former Chairman William Erbey.

New platform

* Hines formed Willowick Residential, a multifamily property management firm with an initial portfolio of nine properties across the U.S. The firm was launched earlier in 2020 and offers acquisition services, advisory services, and lease-up and transition services, among others.

Around the world

* China Evergrande Group expects to raise HK$4.30 billion to repay some debt by selling 260,650,000 shares at HK$16.50 apiece.

* French REIT Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield signed a deal to sell the Shift office property leased to Nestlé SA in France for €620 million to a group of French institutional investors including Primonial Real Estate Investment Management (PREIM), La Française and EDF Invest. The deal is expected to close in January 2021.

Separately, Unibail dismissed proposals from an activist shareholder group calling on the REIT to sell its U.S. mall portfolio, which could be worth up to €14 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported.

* Canadian investor BentallGreenOak plans to invest $10 billion over the next two to three years in Japan's real estate sector, the Nikkei Asian Review reported.

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