Blackstone Mulls Buyout of Valad Property Group

The Blackstone Group is considering a takeover of Australian property firm Valad Property Group, Reuters reported, citing a story in the Australian Financial Review. Valad, a real estate investment group managing roughly $8 billion across seven geographic regions, is heavily in debt, Reuters reported.

(Reuters) – U.S. private equity firm Blackstone is in talks with Valad Property Group on a possible takeover of the Australian property firm, the Australian Financial Review said on Thursday, citing a source familiar with the negotiations.

The newspaper cited on its website the source as saying that “the (takeover) deal is more done than not”, but said the two parties still had a number of obstacles to clear before the deal was finalised.

A Valad spokesman declined to comment on the report, while a Blackstone official could not immediately be reached.

Valad, a real estate investment group with an international network of offices managing A$8 billion in seven geographic regions, is laden with debt with its gearing at 51.3 percent as of December 31, 2010.

Valad Property on Thursday requested a trading halt pending an announcement, saying that “Valad is in discussions with a third party in relation to a material transaction regarding the whole of the Valad business.”

Shares of Valad ended at A$1.16 on Wednesday, giving it a market capitalisation of A$133 million ($144.6 million)

($1 = 0.920 Australian Dollars) ($1 = 0.920 Australian Dollars)

(Reporting by Eriko Amaha; Editing by Ed Davies)