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Report: Blackstone in discussions for 8.50B rupee Mumbai office tower buy

Blackstone Group LP is having advanced discussions over acquiring about half of a 657,000-square-foot office building in the business district of Mumbai, The Economic Times of India reported, citing three sources with knowledge of the matter.

The private-equity giant is said to be mulling the purchase of 360,000 square feet of space across six floors in the First International Financial Centre building for a price tag of over 8.50 billion Indian rupees. Blackstone would be buying out the stake held by Earnest Trading, a consortium including Starwood Capital Group's affiliated funds, the India Property Fund, which is sponsored by Vornado Realty Trust and The Chatterjee Group, and the Urban Infrastructure Real Estate Fund.

One of the sources quoted by the publication said talks have reached a stage near finalization, with the deal expected to be closed over the next couple of weeks.

Citibank Group owns the remaining space in the building, which it purchased in the early part of 2012. The building has an occupancy rate of about 60%, with tenants including Citibank, Oracle India and Apple, according to the Jan. 25 report.

The publication added that Blackstone owns the largest portfolio of office properties in India, valued at more than US$1.00 billion and spanning more than 30 million square feet of space across Noida, Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru.

As of Jan. 25, US$1 was equivalent to 68.08 Indian rupees.