Blackstone Adds Gramercy to Property Empire

The $7.6 billion acquisition of the commercial property asset manager fits Blackstone's strategy of targeting distribution centers.
Matthew HellerMay 7, 2018

Private equity firm Blackstone Group is adding to its already vast real estate portfolio by acquiring commercial property asset manager Gramercy Property Trust for $7.6 billion.

Gramercy specializes in acquiring and managing single-tenant industrial commercial properties and, as of earlier this year, reportedly had a portfolio spanning 81 million square feet.

The company in August launched a new venture to target e-commerce distribution centers. That segment would be complementary for Blackstone, which in March announced a deal to acquire Canyon Industrial Portfolio’s collection of warehouses and distribution centers in major U.S. cities for about $1.8 billion.

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Blackstone has agreed to pay $27.50-per-share offer for Gramercy, representing a premium of 15.4% percent to the closing price on Friday. In trading Monday, the stock rose 15.5% to $27.51.

“We are very pleased to enter into this transaction,” Gramercy CEO Gordon DuGan said in a news release. “We believe this validates the quality of the portfolio and platform that we have built. Entering into this transaction with Blackstone fulfills our board of trustees’ mission to maximize shareholder value.”

Blackstone’s real estate business was founded in 1991 and has approximately $120 billion in investor capital under management. Major holdings include Hilton Worldwide, Invitation Homes, Logicor, and prime office buildings in the world’s major cities.

When Blackstone went public in 2007, fewer than a quarter of its $79 billion in assets under management were tied to real estate. But Jonathan Gray, Blackstone’s global head of real estate, has turned the firm into the world’s biggest real estate investor with landmark deals such as the takeovers of Equity Office Properties and Hilton.

Last year, according to Forbes, the real estate business sold $24.5 billion in property and made $20 billion worth of new investments.

In February, Gray was named Blackstone’s president and chief operating officer, putting him in charge of its day-to-day operations and setting him up to succeed Stephen Schwarzman as CEO.

“We are pleased to acquire Gramercy and its strong portfolio of assets,” said Tyler Henritze, head of U.S. real estate acquisitions for Blackstone.