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Blackstone surrenders IOF to Oxford; bids not up to par for HK$40B site

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

M&As in the spotlight

* Blackstone Group LP finally threw the towel in on its A$3.3 billion pursuit of Investa Office Fund, paving the way for the target's responsible entity, Investa Listed Funds Management Ltd., to sign a bid implementation agreement with Toronto-based Oxford Properties Group. The private equity giant is expected to receive a roughly A$32 million break fee from its exit from the takeover saga that started in August.

After Blackstone bowed out, Investa Listed unanimously recommended the Canadian suitor's A$3.35 billion takeover offer.

* In a similar move, Propertylink's aspirations to create the largest industrial-focused real estate investment trust in Australia came to an end when it ceased its A$755 million chase after Centuria Industrial REIT, when the former received an increased A$1.20-per-security offer from the Warburg Pincus LLC-backed ESR Real Estate (Australia) Pty. Ltd.

* At least four more M&A transactions involving real estate companies progressed Down Under during the week, with NextDC Ltd.'s A$2.02-per-share bid winning the support of Asia Pacific Data Centre's board; Folkestone Ltd. approving Charter Hall Group's A$205 million privatization proposal; and Hometown America Corp. and LandMark White Ltd. both closing their respective buyouts of Gateway Lifestyle Group and Taylor Byrne Pty. Ltd.

* Outside of Australia, Hong Kong-based Spring Real Estate Investment Trust advised its unit holders to reject Asian private equity firm PAG's approximately HK$6.15 billion takeover offer, while in Singapore, the merger of ESR-REIT and Viva Industrial Trust to create a trust with an estimated S$3.0 billion portfolio took effect, as well as Wheelock and Co. Ltd.'s S$2.5 billion privatization of its Wheelock Properties (Singapore) Ltd. subsidiary.

Big deals steal the show

* Bids submitted by the likes of Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd., CK Asset Holdings Ltd. and Henderson Land Development Co. Ltd. proved insufficient to convince the Hong Kong government to sell the Rural Building Lot No. 1211 luxury residential site at The Peak. The city's administration is expected to re-tender the roughly 17,598-square-meter property along Mansfield Road that was tipped to fetch up to HK$40 billion.

* Shareholders of China's HNA Group Co. Ltd. rejected a 1.3 billion-yuan deal with China Vanke Co. Ltd. for the sale of the Beijing HNA Plaza office complex in Beijing's Chaoyang district, amid the debt-laden group's ongoing asset divestment spree.

The real estate-to-aviation conglomerate's first no-sell decision in 2018 comes as it moves to sell at least US$11 billion of properties worldwide to tackle its mountain of debt.

* CapitaLand Ltd. formalized its entry into the multifamily sector of the U.S. with the completion of an US$835 million deal for the purchase of 16 freehold properties. Separately, the Singapore developer is also believed to be buying the Star Harbor International Center office building complex in Shanghai for at least 12.79 billion yuan.

* Amid its plan to create a green elderly healthcare industry-focused subordinating real estate investment trust, Modern Land (China) Co. Ltd. signed a C$220.0 million agreement to acquire land plots with a combined estimated site area of 624,430 square feet in Richmond, Canada.

* Frasers Property Ltd. closed the approximately €285.2 million acquisition of an asset management business and properties in Germany and Austria through the purchase of three Austrian logistics property-owning companies.

* Singaporean wealth fund GIC Pte. Ltd. is buying an office building in Paris from Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield SE under a €464.9 million deal.

* U.S. electric carmaker Tesla Inc. secured an 860,000-square-meter site in Shanghai for its first offshore factory after it placed the winning 973 million-yuan bid during an auction administered by the Shanghai Bureau of Planning and Land Resources.

IPO-hopefuls take center stage

* Chinese unicorn startup Ucommune is now the largest coworking brand in Asia after it purchased five co-working operator brands ahead of its planned 2019 listing in Hong Kong. In the latest transaction, the former UrWork bought Fountown to expand its operations to more than 200 communities across 37 cities worldwide.

* Asset World Corp. Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of major Frasers Property majority stakeholder TCC Holding Co. Ltd., is reportedly aiming to raise at least US$1.5 billion by listing in Bangkok in 2019. The IPO hopeful, aside from owning a hospitality business, is also a developer of shopping centers and office properties in Thailand.

* Private real estate lender Qualitas is seeking A$500 million from its plan to list its Qualitas Real Estate Income Fund on the Australia stock exchange. Once completed, the proposed offering could pave the way for what could be the first listed pure property debt investment trust Down Under.