Which PERE 50 firms bought and sold the most in 2017

Blackstone may top the latest PERE 50 ranking, but it was neither the biggest net buyer nor net seller last year.

The amount of equity that a PERE 50 firm has raised in the past five years often does not correlate with how much capital they are investing, according to an analysis of data from PERE and Real Capital Analytics.

In this year’s PERE 50 ranking, Blackstone and Brookfield Asset Management top the list as the private equity real estate firms that have raked in the most money over the five-year window. Neither firm, however, was the largest net buyer or net seller of the group.

From a fundraising perspective, Blackstone was heads and shoulders above the rest of the PERE 50 – having gathered nearly $50 billion during that period, compared with $29 billion for Brookfield. Blackstone also far and away led the pack in terms of both acquisitions and dispositions in 2017, recording totals of $34.68 billion and $31.27 billion, respectively, with a net investment volume of $3.42 billion, according to RCA. However, the firm was only the third-largest net buyer in 2017, according to RCA.

By contrast, Brookfield saw significantly smaller acquisition and disposition volumes than Blackstone, buying $3.89 billion in assets and selling $11.11 billion, with a net investment volume of -$7.23 billion, RCA data showed. The Toronto-based alternative asset manager actually ranked highest among all of the PERE 50 firms in terms of dispositions, but only sixth-highest in terms of acquisitions. On balance, the firm was the second-biggest net seller last year, the data revealed.

So which firms did prevail as the largest net buyer and net seller last year? CBRE Global Investors, which finished in 12th place on the PERE 50 ranking, took the honors for the former, with a net investment volume of $4.29 billion. The Los Angeles-based real estate investment management firm achieved an acquisition total of $10.05 billion last year – the second-highest after Blackstone – and the fifth-highest disposition total of -$5.76 billion, the RCA data showed.

Coming in second among PERE 50 net buyers was GLP, the sixth-place finisher on the fundraising ranking. The Chicago-based logistics real estate firm ranked ninth in terms of acquisitions, with $3.65 billion of purchases, but was near the bottom of the list in terms of dispositions, offloading just $141.54 million in assets, according to RCA. Only Westbrook Partners, with $104.38 million in sales, and KSL Capital Partners, with $12 million in sales, had lower disposition volumes.

As for the largest net seller in 2017, that distinction went to Lone Star Funds, which sold $8.76 billion of real estate, compared with purchasing just $317.66 million. In total, its net investment volume was -$8.44 billion, according to RCA.

Overall, the PERE firms continued to be net sellers this year, with aggregate net investment volume of -$1.2 billion, just slightly lower than last year’s net investment volume of -$1.05 billion, the data showed. Indeed, 28 of the firms were net sellers, while 22 were net buyers, according to RCA.

The net selling trend of the last two years is a stark reversal from just two years ago, when the PERE 50 firms completed a total net investment volume of $6.9 billion, the data showed.