Blackstone to sell $2.7 billion Australian mall portfolio: Reuters

(Reuters) — Blackstone Group (BX.N) has put an A$3.5 billion ($2.65 billion) shopping mall portfolio in Australia up for sale, said a source familiar with the matter, in what could be one of the country’s largest ever real estate transactions.

The source, who saw the termsheet for the sale, said that UBS and JPMorgan were mandated to run the sale, along with real estate agent Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).

A spokesman for Blackstone, the world’s biggest alternative asset manager, declined to comment when contacted by Reuters. Spokeswomen for UBS and JLL could not be immediately contacted, while a JPMorgan spokesman did not have any immediate comment.

The Australian portfolio for sale comprises 10 shopping centers, mostly in Sydney and Melbourne, where a booming real estate market has pushed land values ever higher and population growth has underpinned retail spending.

“It is a very defensive portfolio because it is non-discretionary, there’s no department stores in there,” the source said, adding that the asking price was around A$3.5 billion.

Details of the sale were circulated last week, the source said.

Reuters reported in January that Blackstone is also readying a new $5 billion real estate fund, focused on investing in Asian property such as warehouses and malls in China, India and Australia.

Recent filings from Blackstone’s first Asia-focused property fund, which invested in Japanese residential real estate, office space in Australia and Chinese shopping malls, show an internal rate of return of 17 percent through September 2016.