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Blackstone, Oxford duel for IOF; Mitsubishi heads to India

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

Big updates, big deals

* U.S.-based Blackstone Group LP and Canadian Oxford Properties Group are going head-to-head for Australian office trust Investa Office Fund, or IOF. Newcomer Oxford is offering A$5.50 per unit, and Blackstone, which has been pursuing the fund since June, acknowledged the rival bid and raised its offer to A$5.52 per unit, subject to certain conditions.

IOF's responsible entity, Investa Listed Funds Management Ltd., said it will work with the private equity firm to make the price increase effective.

* Thai hospitality company Minor International PCL could be hitting a roadblock in its ongoing takeover of Spanish hotelier NH Hotel Group SA.

Hoteles Hesperia SA tapped JP Morgan to advise on its options for its 8% stake in NH Hotel, noting that it considers Minor's €6.30-per-share bid is not sufficient.

* A CK Asset Holdings Ltd. unit is one of three CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd. companies taking stakes in Cheung Kong (Infrastructure Investment) Ltd., with the property developer making a roughly US$1.22 billion investment for a share in the target's profits. Cheung Kong and its subsidiaries own stakes in Canada's largest off-airport car park provider and other multisector companies around the globe.

Beyond the border

* Mitsubishi Corp. is making its first-ever investment in India's real estate industry when it signed a 1.80 billion-rupee agreement to take a 70% interest in the Shriram Park 63 residential project, which is being developed by Shriram Properties Pvt. Ltd.

* Also in its first foray outside its homebase, Singapore-listed Soilbuild Business Space REIT is spending A$121.0 million for two properties in Australia.

* Singaporean real estate developer Wing Tai Holdings Ltd. is said to be in talks with Samsung Life Insurance Co. Ltd. to acquire the 30 Gresham St. building in the City of London that the South Korean investment manager is selling for about £425 million. The 400,000-square-foot building serves as Commerzbank AG's headquarters in the city.

* South Korean company Hana Financial Group Inc. was reported to be in discussions with U.K.-based real estate manager Aermont Capital LLP to purchase a London office building. A roughly £185 million price tag is attached to the property that is being redeveloped for WeWork Cos.

* In Johor, Malaysia, Chief Minister of State Osman Sapian said foreigners are allowed to buy units at Chinese developer Country Garden Holdings Co. Ltd.'s US$100 billion Forest City project, a change of tune from days prior when Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad stated that overseas buyers will be banned from doing so.

The Johor state government also this week proposed to reserve 30% of the project for domestic buyers.