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Real Estate News & Analysis: May Edition


Blackstone partner's Hispania bid clears hurdle; IWG draws private equity firms

* Blackstone Group LP affiliate's application for its roughly €1.59 billion takeover bid for Hispania Activos Inmobiliarios was authorized by the Spanish National Securities Market Commission May 11. Alzette Investment Sàrl's bid for the 83.44% stake it does not already own in the Spanish real estate investment trust still requires the acceptance of more than 50% of Hispania shareholders and other regulatory approvals to push through.

* IWG PLC received two separate indicative proposals of potential cash takeover offers from the respective units of private equity firms Starwood Capital Group and TDR Capital LLP. A subsidiary of Lone Star Funds has also approached the serviced office group regarding a possible takeover.

The proposals come on the back of the end of potential buyout talks by Canadian asset manager Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and private equity firm Onex Corp.

UK and Ireland

* Private equity firm Silverlake bought over the owner of online property platforms Zoopla, PrimeLocation and SmartNewHomes in a £2.2 billion acquisition deal. Some 31% of ZPG PLC's investors, including its directors and its 29.9% stakeholder Daily Mail and General Trust plc, backed the agreement.

* Developer X1 and Knight Knox are seeking planning consent from the local council for the £210 million South Bank residential-led development in Leeds, U.K., PW reported. Plans for the development include 928 homes, and retail and office accommodations, among other amenities.

* Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc.'s DoubleTree by Hilton brand is set to expand its presence in the U.K. after making plans to open five new hotels following a franchise agreement between its parent and Aprirose.

The new hotels to be opened are DoubleTree by Hilton Forest Pines Hotel & Golf Resort; DoubleTree by Hilton Oxford Belfry; DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgow Westerwood Hotel & Golf Resort; DoubleTree by Hilton Cambridge Belfry in Cambourne; and DoubleTree by Hilton Stratford-upon-Avon, according to a release.

* London's Financial Times reported that Blackstone has been criticized by non-profit housing associations over its push into the British social housing sector following the private equity giant's 90% acquisition of for-profit social housing provider Sage Housing.

The stake purchase has allowed Blackstone to compete with traditional housing associations by bidding for and then renting out chunks of rental properties that developers are obliged to classify as affordable homes, the publication added.

* Irish Life Investment Managers paid north of €100 million to Park Developments for the purchase of 262 apartments under construction in south Dublin, which were scheduled to be put up for sale on the market, The Irish Times reported. More than 1,000 people had shown interest in buying the apartments before they were snapped up by the Irish Life unit, according to the report. The project is expected to be fully completed in the first quarter of 2020.

Spain

* A division of Vukile Property Fund Ltd., Castellana Properties Socimi SA, is spending €80.6 million to acquire the recently refurbished Habaneras Shopping Centre in Alicante from Heref Habaneras Socimi SA. The retail asset spans a gross lettable area of 24,158 square meters, and has a weighted average lease term of 6.1 years to expiry and 3.8 years to the next breaks.

Switzerland

* Swiss Prime Site AG's SPS Immobilien Ltd. unit is selling for an undisclosed amount the 170-unit Weltpost Park residential development in Bern to Allianz Suisse Immobilien. The three-building project is set to be completed in the first quarter of 2020, with SPS Immobilien as its construction manager and Frutiger AG serving as its general contractor.

Sweden

* EQT Real Estate purchased the 9,100-square-meter Hönsfodret 1 mixed-use asset in Stockholm for roughly 345 million Swedish kronor, before taxes. An affiliate of domestic insurance company Folksam was the seller of the office and education property, according to a release.

Middle East

* Dubai Properties is set to kick off the third phase of the Amaranta development in Dubailand, an entertainment complex in Dubai, featuring more than 300 townhouses and amenities across 18,000 square meters of space, Arabian Business reported. Work on the latest stage is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter, with completion slated for 2020-end.

The Daily Dose Europe, Real Estate edition has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. London time. Some external links may require a subscription. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.

Celestyn Wong contributed to this report.