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Blackstone buys, sells billions in Australia; CK Asset in 2 crossborder deals

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

Billions in Australia

* M&A activity in Australia's real estate market was strong this week, with Blackstone Group LP making headlines when it declared its A$3.14 billion offer for Investa Office Fund binding. The recommended cash offer's fate will be voted on in August.

The private equity giant approached the manager of the office-focused real estate investment trust in April.

* Meanwhile, Hometown America Corp. is offering A$637.7 million for Gateway Lifestyle Group through an indicative and nonbinding proposal. Both parties are manufactured homes developers and have portfolios focused on residential land lease communities.

* Cross-industry, a Hong Kong-based consortium composed of developer CK Asset Holdings Ltd. and three of its units submitted a A$13 billion indicative nonbinding conditional proposal for natural gas infrastructure business APA Group.

* Additionally, Blackstone is also reportedly considering selling its DCI Data Centers portfolio in Australia. A price tag for the data centers was undisclosed, but the properties are said to be worth more than a portfolio that was sold for about A$1.04 billion by Equinix Inc.

Real estate dealings

* Reinforcing Blackstone's interest in Asian real estate, the firm recently raised US$9.4 billion for two funds. A real estate fund will target Australia, China, India and Southeast Asia, while a private equity fund will be used for company buyouts in the region.

* From Hong Kong to London: CK Asset became the new owner of the 12-floor 5 Broadgate complex for £1 billion. British Land Co. PLC and GIC are the sellers of the London office building that is home to UBS Group AG.

* From Sydney to the U.K.: Lendlease Corp. Ltd. formed a joint venture to take over a £1.2 billion mixed-use development in London. On the other hand, it has yet to find a buyer for its 25% stake in a shopping center in Kent.

* From Singapore to Seoul: Mapletree Investments is making its first direct bid for a South Korean asset. Together with Blackstone, the real estate investor is said to be offering 787 billion won for the 32-story office building being sold by Samsung C&T Corp.

Looking at bourses

* Hong Kong-listed China Evergrande Group is still progressing with its backdoor listing plan in Shenzhen. The Chinese developer/builder recently extended the exclusivity period it signed in late 2016 to carry out the plan to until Dec. 31 from June 30.

* Blackstone and Embassy Group will be filing the prospectus for the long-delayed US$1 billion IPO of India's first real estate investment trust in July, according to sources. Embassy Office Parks has been on the listing route since 2014.

* Still in India, hospitality group Dream Gateway Hotels Ltd. is targeting 305.0 million rupees for its listing on the Bombay Stock Exchange. The IPO shares are priced at 90 rupees apiece and will see the Jain Group Pvt. Ltd. hospitality arm begin trading on the bourse by the end of June.

Solving financial woes

* Wuzhou International Holdings Ltd. is in discussions with creditors for alternative payment arrangements after it defaulted on some payment obligations that were due in 2018. The disclosure, along with its acknowledgement of financial shortages, was made when the company's shares came back to trading on the Hong Kong bourse June 15, ending a trading halt that commenced May 25.

While the company confirmed earlier media reports of its financial difficulties and a shareholder's forced liquidation of shares in the company, Wuzhou reiterated that it did not misappropriate billions of yuan with a company that it has a 5.13% stake on.

The Hong Kong-listed, Jiangsu, China-headquartered diversified developer recorded a loss attributable to company owners in full-year 2017 of about 518 million yuan, representing a 615.5% year-over-year slump. The company had attributed the significant tumble mainly to decreases in its revenue and revaluation gains. Its bank balances and cash, as at 2017-end, stood at about 1.84 billion yuan, against 3.04 billion yuan worth of bank and other borrowings due in 2018.

* Conglomerate Swire Pacific Ltd. is offering nearly HK$3.00 billion in cash to gain full control of its aircraft engineering and maintenance services subsidiary, noting that keeping Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Co. Ltd.'s listed status in Hong Kong is not viable any longer due to its low liquidity and lackluster trading performance.

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Celestyn Wong contributed to this report.

As of June 14, US$1 was equivalent to 6.40 yuan, 67.64 rupees and 1,084.10 won.