GE Real Estate turns the light on private equity

The real estate arm of the conglomerate General Electric says it wants to start investing other people's money instead of its own. Will the firm founded by Thomas Edison 130 years ago prove to be a true rival for the likes of The Blackstone Group and Morgan Stanley? By Zoe Hughes.

GE Real Estate at a glance

1878 – Thomas Edison opens a laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey, inventing arguably the most famous device ever
known, the incandescent electric lamp. By 1890, the Edison General Electric Company had been formed.
1892 – Edison General Electric Company merges with rival firm Thomson-Houston Electric Company to form the
General Electric Company. By 1896 it is one of the original 12 companies listed on the newly-formed Dow Jones Industrial
1940 – 10 years after putting its first washing machine on the market, GE becomes the first company to relay television
broadcasts from New York City. By 1941, GE has also built the US' first jet engine, the I-A.
1950s – The first GE real estate transaction was completed.
1972 – GE Real Estate was formally established in the United States.
1980s – GE Real Estate enters the UK market.
1990s – GE Real Estate enters Canada, the Nordic region, France, Japan and Mexico.
2005 – GE Real Estate enters India with joint venture with Ascendas .
2006 – GE Real Estate makes an initial fund investment in China and acquires Arden Realty, a US REIT, for $4.8 billion.
It makes its first investment in Turkey through a joint venture with Dogus Holdings and is voted the World's Most
Respected Company by Fortune magazine.
2007 – GE Real Estate makes its first Japanese REIT investment with LCP Investment Corporation and enters Brazil
and Taiwan. It also makes its first investment in Romania through a joint venture with Helios-Phoenix and enters Russia
through Heitman Russia Property Partners Fund.
2008 – GE Real Estate chief executive Joe Parsons announces the firm plans to rival private equity giants Blackstone and
Morgan Stanley by raising their own third party funds.
Financial Performance
• GE Real Estate boasts of 28 percent compound annual growth rate since 1993, achieving more than 10 percent
net income growth for 12 consecutive years.
• $72 billion in total assets
• $91 billion served assets
• Portfolio comprised of 57% equity investments and 43% debt financing.
• In 2006, GE Real Estate closed $29 billion of real estate transactions.
• The average investment size is $7.4 million.
GE Real Estate at work
North America Equity actively sources and manages single property and portfolio acquisitions and investments including
office, multifamily, industrial, retail, hotel, parking and assisted living asset classes in the US, Mexico and Brazil.
North America Lending structures all forms debt financing in the US and Canada.
Business Property provides single-tenant mortgages to developers and investors and owner-occupied real estate
financing and sale-leasebacks to US and Canadian businesses.
Europe provides equity investments to clients, including direct acquisitions of single assets or portfolios, joint venture
equity partnerships, corporate outsourcing transactions, sale-leasebacks, and mezzanine debt financing across the office,
residential, retail and warehouse sector and including hotels, healthcare facilities and development projects.
Asia-Pacific focuses on Japan, South Korea, China, India, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand providing asset
management, loan servicing and joint ventures in commercial, residential and multifamily sectors.