EDITOR'S LETTER: Times are a-changin’

Welcome to the April issue of PERE, which has a distinctly European flavor to it. That is due in part to our coverage of the annual MIPIM property show, where thousands of men and women of real estate took over Cannes for a whole week. Starting on page 38, we offer highlights of the most notable trends and news to come out of the event, as well as a diary of team PERE’s escapades.

Also, beginning on page 48, there is a special European roundtable discussion involving Morgan Stanley, CBRE, The Townsend Group and Goodwin Procter. That lively conversation should leave you clear on how people see the region at this moment in time.

It must be noted, however, that both of these events took place before Cyprus became front-page news. Had that country’s problems been laid bare a little earlier, it is possible that the sentiment across the whole of the region might have been different.

That said, the themes covered in this issue likely will continue to play out whatever the outcome for Cyprus, which at the time of writing was locked in talks with its European financial masters. For example, the implosion of the country won’t halt the march of e-commerce or the global forces that are having a profound effect on the logistics market, as James Comtois reports on page 35.

It also won’t affect the global aspirations of Brookfield Asset Management. Evelyn Lee recently took time out to talk to the increasingly powerful property group, which certainly won’t allow one country’s woes to derail its ambitions. You can read the interview, starting on page 28.

Undeniably, though, the world is a-changin’ as Bob Dylan once sang, and that certainly is the case in private equity real estate. I take note, for example, of new entrants such as KKR, which has been reported as readying its first dedicated real estate fund, and TPG, which is said to be aiming for $1 billion for its debut property vehicle. We can’t say this is a surprise as we tipped these two firms as coming into the space ages ago. In fact, you could ask what took them so long.

At the same time as there are new entrants, some players are seeking an exit. For example, MGPA is in advanced discussions with potential purchasers, as Jonathan Brasse revealed a few weeks ago. For a more in-depth look at that situation, turn to page 24.

Bearing in mind that real estate investing on behalf of third parties can be a long, drawn-out process, you could say the industry doesn’t move quite as quickly as a Cypriot bank accountholder. I am not saying it is predictable, but I would say that most of us have a good view of where we are going.

Enjoy the issue,

Robin Marriott
Editor, PERE