EXCLUSIVE: BlackRock plots $1bn Asia opportunistic fund

The New York-based asset management giant BlackRock is preparing the launch of its first opportunistic real estate fund since taking over MGPA in October 2013.

BlackRock Real Estate, the real estate investment management business of global asset management titan BlackRock, is set to launch its first higher-returning real estate fund since it took over MGPA, PERE can reveal.

The New York-based firm, which manages $24 billion of real estate globally, has decided the first fund to be marketed since combining its real estate team with MGPA’s in October 2013 will be an Asia-focused and is targeting around $1 billion for the vehicle.

While soft marketing has already started, it is expected to be officially launched early next year. BlackRock is also planning to launch a European property fund later next year after the Asia fund has hit the market.

The funds will be successors to MGPA Asia Fund III and MGPA Europe Fund III, but BlackRock Real Estate AF IV and EF IV are not expected to try to match the same equity raise. MGPA Asia Fund III and Europe Fund III raised a total of $5.2 billion between them upon final closing in June 2008. The Asia fund accounted for $3.9 billion of that total, making it the biggest fund of its kind in the region ever raised until Blackstone raised more for its first Asia fund earlier this year.

The news comes eight months after BlackRock promoted and reshuffled key members of its real estate leadership team. In February this year, Jack Chandler, who led the acquisition of MGPA, became Chairman of BlackRock’s Global Real Estate business focusing on strategic development of the platform as well as investment and client activities having been named global head of real estate in the immediate wake of MGPA’s takeover.

Marcus Sperber is now global head of real estate having previously held the position of head of international real estate in charge of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Simon Treacy is global chief investment officer and head of US Equity having previously been MGPA’s global chief executive officer. Chandler and Treacy are based in New York while Sperber is located in London.

Upon taking up the new role earlier this year, Chandler told clients and investors that since the merger with MGPA, the integration was largely complete, giving BlackRock a “robust” global business with strong leadership.

He told investors the footprint included $24 billion in assets, 250 real estate staff working from offices in 17 cities in 11 countries covering 85 percent of the investible market. Within its headcount are teams to handle equity, listed real estate securities and real estate debt.

The global real estate division is housed within BlackRock Alternative Investment Solutions, which also encompasses hedge funds, private equity, renewable power, and special opportunities. BlackRock’s alternatives divisions is just part of its overall $4.3 trillion of assets under management, making it the largest in the world.

The company declined to comment on fundraising activities.