(Reuters) – Blackstone’s real estate arm is targeting up to $5 billion for a new European fund, according to a source familiar with the matter, as one of the world’s biggest private equity firms bets on property deals in the region picking up.
Blackstone declined to comment on the new real estate fund.
Though the United States represents the bulk of Blackstone’s real estate holdings, the New York-based firm said last month it was seeing more opportunities abroad. Europe’s distressed real estate is coming up for sale and Asia’s financial problems are creating opportunities, making the two regions more attractive than the higher priced U.S. market.
Blackstone also agreed to sell its 50 percent stake in London’s Broadgate office complex to a sovereign-wealth fund for more than 1.7 billion pounds ($2.66 billion), a source familiar with the deal told Reuters.
Blackstone bought its half share of the 30-acre site in London’s financial district from British Land in September 2009 for 77 million pounds, and has since then made investments to improve the property.
Real estate is Blackstone’s biggest earner, accounting for about half its profits in the last quarter. The Broadgate deal would allow Blackstone to return more cash to its investors as it pitches them for a new European fund.