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Blackstone buying Gramercy Property; La Quinta, Wyndham boards approve spinoffs

S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of U.S. 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.

Merger mania

* In the second major real estate merger announced in as many weeks, diversified real estate investment trust Gramercy Property Trust agreed to be acquired by affiliates of Blackstone Group LP's Blackstone Real Estate Partners VIII for $27.50 per share in a roughly $7.6 billion all-cash deal.

The previous week saw logistics giant Prologis agree to buy out fellow industrial REIT DCT Industrial Trust Inc. in an all-stock deal worth $8.4 billion, including assumed debt.

Seal of approval

* La Quinta Holdings Inc.'s board approved the planned spinoff of CorePoint Lodging Inc. and the corresponding distribution of the latter's outstanding common shares to La Quinta's stockholders.

CorePoint will become the holder of the owned real estate assets previously held by La Quinta, while La Quinta will continue to hold its management and franchise businesses. CorePoint will be a stand-alone, publicly traded company immediately after the distribution, and La Quinta will not keep an ownership interest in CorePoint.

After the spinoff, La Quinta will merge with a Wyndham Worldwide Corp. unit.

* Wyndham Worldwide's board also approved the planned spinoff of its Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Inc. unit into a stand-alone company. Wyndham Worldwide will continue to operate as a vacation ownership and exchange company under the new name Wyndham Destinations Inc.

Buy and sell

* VICI Properties Inc. agreed to acquire real estate assets in Las Vegas and Pennsylvania from Caesars Entertainment Corp. for a total of $749 million and amend parts of their lease agreements. Caesars Entertainment's operating partnership spun off VICI Properties in 2017 after emerging from bankruptcy.

* Two minority owners of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, N.Y., exercised a right of first refusal to match a recent $600 million offer in the latest twist in majority owner SAHARA Group's attempt to unload the asset. The new bid came from Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal's Kingdom Holding Co.

Shahal Khan, founder of White City Ventures and the Chimera Group, and Kamran Hakim of the Hakim Organization were previously reported to be under contract to buy the asset.

* Property developer Starrett City Associates sold the 46-building Spring Creek Towers affordable-housing complex in Brooklyn, N.Y., for $905 million, Bloomberg News reported, citing court records. The asset was acquired by a joint venture between Brooksville Co. and Rockpoint Group after a State Supreme Court judge cleared the sale earlier in 2018. U.S. President Donald Trump held a 4% stake in Starrett City Associates, Bloomberg noted, citing a June 2017 financial disclosure filing made with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.

* Canadian shopping center landlord RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust and retailer Hudson's Bay Co. entered into a conditional agreement to sell a jointly owned store in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, for approximately C$675 million to an unnamed buyer from Asia, Reuters reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Earnings call coverage

As the first-quarter earnings season winds down, S&P Global Market Intelligence reporters tuned in to earnings calls from some of the major names in real estate.

Monmouth CEO, Chairman: We don't want to be acquired

Marriott CEO details home-sharing initiative

LaSalle CEO, newly bullish, cites strong spring results

Featured during the week on S&P Global Market Intelligence

After 2nd big M&A deal in days, spotlight is on industrial real estate

Data Dispatch: 60 US and Canadian real estate companies increase dividends YTD through April

Research Roundup: Mizuho Securities upgrades Paramount Group, First Industrial Realty

Data Dispatch: US insurers favor specialty REIT bonds, with $11.4B held at year-end '17