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Real Estate News & Analysis: May Edition


Blackstone checks out; HNA/Rezidor merger faces roadblock

S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of European real estate news stories and more published throughout the week. Please note that some entries may have links to third-party sources that may require a subscription.

Hotel bookings

* In what is said to be the largest portfolio deal in France so far in 2017, real estate funds managed by Blackstone Group LP divested Simply Hotels Group to Mata Capital.

The deal covers 45 budget and economic hotels, comprising 3,286 rooms, across Paris, Nice, Lyon and Marseille, as well as locations in regional business and leisure hubs, according to JLL Hotels & Hospitality, which advised the funds on the deal.

* First Sponsor Group Ltd. completed the €205.0 million acquisition of the Bilderberg hotel portfolio, which comprises 16 hotels and one leased hotel across the Netherlands.

An affiliate of First Sponsor Group, the parent company of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Plc and City Developments Ltd., and Galaren Interholding BV acquired the Dutch portfolio from QMH Ltd.

* A joint venture comprising Hotel Properties Ltd. unit HPL Properties (West) Pte Ltd. and Olympia Partners Pte. Ltd. agreed to buy the 405-room freehold Hilton London Olympia hotel at 380 Kensington High St. in London for £114.9 million.

The property is owned by Maple Olympia Propco 4 Sarl.

Top-notch transactions

* Société Foncière Lyonnaise, the French unit of Inmobiliaria Colonial SA, is selling the In/Out building in Paris to French fund Primonial for an undisclosed price. PropertyEU pegs the price of the 35,000-square-meter office building at roughly €400 million.

* Swiss company Partners Group AG is acquiring the 28-story CB16 Tower office building in Paris for €170 million on behalf of its clients. The property has a floor area of 30,000 square meters.

Moneyball

* Vonovia SE reported first-half funds from operations 1 of €457.7 million, representing a year-over-year rise of 18%. FFO 1 per share jumped to 96 cents, from 83 cents in the first half of 2016.

Profit for the first half came in at €1.06 billion, up a noteworthy 619.8% from €147.9 million a year earlier.

* Aldar Properties PJSC logged first-half net profit of 1.26 billion United Arab Emirates dirhams, compared to 1.31 billion dirhams in the year-ago period.

The company's net profit for the second quarter fell to 620 million dirhams, from 654 million dirhams a year earlier. Gross profit, however, climbed 5% year over year to 1.29 billion dirhams, while revenue was flat at 2.93 billion dirhams.

* Union Investment garnered €620 million in the initial subscription phase of its first residential fund, UniImmo Wohnen ZBI, which is deemed to be Germany's largest open-ended residential fund, IPE Real Estate reported.

The fund, which was launched earlier in 2017 by Union Investment and ZBI Zentral Boden Immobilien, targets German properties that offer affordable living space, the company was cited as saying.

New beginnings

* Inmobiliaria Colonial SA is now a Spanish real estate investment trust, or SOCIMI, with retroactive effect from Jan. 1, after its shareholders approved the company's adoption of the REIT regime.

* Pan-European regional real estate specialist M7 has mandated Barclays and Akur Capital to review a potential £300 million IPO of its property portfolio in London.

The float, which is expected to be one of the largest public listings in the U.K. so far in 2017, is likely to occur at the end of the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter.

Waiting for clearance

* Chinese conglomerate HNA Group's bid to take over Brussels-based Rezidor Hotel Group AB is hanging in the air, thanks to mainland China's capital controls on local companies doing business overseas.

HNA Sweden Hospitality Management AB is awaiting regulatory and government clearance to take capital abroad in order to fund its offer for Rezidor. HNA's offer for Rezidor has already been extended a number of times.

M&A in the offing

* BNP Paribas SA is looking to merge the U.K. subsidiary of its real estate arm with property services group Strutt & Parker, Reuters reported, citing company officials. The merged entity is slated to generate combined annual revenue of £165 million.

* Private equity group Bridgepoint is nearing a deal to buy British housebuilder Miller Homes, which is majority-owned by Blackstone, for around £655 million, London's Financial Times reported, citing "people familiar with the discussions."

Featured during the week on S&P Global Market Intelligence

Q&A: Dream Global targets €100M in disposals from new Dutch portfolio: Bruce Traversy, head of investments at the Canadian real estate investment trust, talked about pruning the company's new batch of properties, attracting European investors and moving into other markets.

Vonovia investment program on track as authorities keep choke on supply: Germany's largest listed real estate company by market capitalization is confident that it will meet its investment target for the year, but is limited on creating more space by planning restrictions.

Landsec, British Land among top landlords checking fire safety post-Grenfell: More than a third of the top 25 listed real estate companies on the London Stock Exchange have taken action in the wake of the fatal tower fire that killed at least 80 people.

Amisha Mehta contributed to this report.