New York, November 23rd, 2010 – The Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX) today announced that it had closed on an agreement to manage Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Asian real estate assets and to act as the new general partner for the Merrill Lynch Asian Real Estate Opportunity Fund. Since acquiring Merrill Lynch, Bank of America has made the decision that the Merrill Lynch real estate assets in Asia are not core to its strategy for the region. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Commenting on the transaction, Jonathan Gray and Chad Pike, co-heads of Blackstone’s real estate group, said: “This transaction represents a very significant opportunity for Blackstone. We are already the largest opportunistic real estate investor in the U.S. and Europe. This gives us a substantially larger platform to continue to bring success to our limited partners in a region where we see major growth going forward.”
Doug Sesler, Head of BAML Real Estate Principal Investments, said, “We are excited about the real estate and management expertise that Blackstone brings to our Asian real estate fund in their new role as General Partner. We’re pleased to reach an agreement with broad support from the fund’s limited partners and expect this transaction will provide stability and leadership to help maximize investor returns.”
The combined Merrill Lynch portfolio consists of assets geographically spread across Asia, with the substantial majority located in four markets: Japan, China, India and South Korea. Most of the current Merrill Lynch Asia real estate team has agreed to join the Blackstone real estate group.
About The Blackstone Group:
Blackstone (NYSE: BX) is one of the world’s leading investment and advisory firms. Blackstone seeks to create positive economic impact and long-term value for its investors, the companies it invests in, the companies it advises and the broader global economy. The firm accomplishes this through the commitment of its extraordinary people and flexible capital. Blackstone’s alternative asset management businesses include the management of private equity funds, real estate funds, funds of hedge funds, credit-oriented funds and closed-end mutual funds. The Blackstone Group also provides various financial advisory services, including financial and strategic advisory, restructuring and reorganization advisory and fund placement services. Further information is available at www.blackstone.com.