Behind Blackstone’s $4.8bn real estate take-private

The New York-based alternative asset manager beat out eight other private equity firms to buy LaSalle Hotel Properties – a deal that is up for shareholder vote next month.

Out of an initial pool of 20 contenders, Blackstone became the winning bidder for LaSalle Hotel Properties after only a one-month bidding process, according to an investor presentation released by the hotel REIT Monday.

In April, Bethesda, Maryland-based LaSalle and its advisors contacted potential buyers that included the New York-based alternative asset manager and eight other private equity firms; six strategic parties, including Pebblebrook Hotel Trust ­– another public hotel REIT that made multiple offers for LaSalle; and five brand management companies, the presentation stated.

The initial pool of possible buyers was soon narrowed to 10 parties, including Blackstone and Pebblebrook, which signed confidentiality agreements to receive non-public information on LaSalle. Three final proposals were considered before Blackstone was selected as the winner, just a month after LaSalle began its initial outreach. On May 21, LaSalle announced its agreement to be acquired by Blackstone’s global real estate opportunistic fund: Blackstone Real Estate Partners VIII.

“Blackstone has proven ability to complete large transactions on agreed terms,” LaSalle Hotels said in the presentation, adding that the deal was not contingent on financing.

The REIT noted that Blackstone’s purchase price of $33.50 a share, with a total deal value of $4.8 billion, represented a 35 percent premium to LaSalle Hotels’ unaffected closing stock price on March 27, and was one of the highest premiums ever paid in a public REIT transaction.

LaSalle shareholders are scheduled to vote on the transaction on September 6, with approval required by two-thirds of the outstanding common shares.

LaSalle owns 41 hotel properties, totaling approximately 10,400 guest rooms in 11 markets throughout seven states and the District of Columbia. The company’s hotel assets include L’Auberge Del Mar in San Diego and The Marker Resort Key West in Key West, Florida.

The $4.8 billion acquisition of LaSalle Hotel Properties is one of five large public real estate company transactions to which Blackstone has committed capital this year alone. The other deals include the $3.8 billion acquisition of Canadian REIT Pure Industrial Real Estate Trust, which closed in May, and the $7.6 billion privatization of US office and industrial REIT Gramercy Property Trust, which was announced in May.