Valad Europe stake up for grabs

Blackstone and the management of Valad Europe are running a process via UBS to advise on the sale of the private equity firm’s majority stake in the European asset and investment manager with a €4.9 billion portfolio and 180 staff in 13 countries.

The Blackstone Group is reportedly seeking buyers for its financial stake in Valad Europe, the pan-European real estate investment manager.

The New York firm has appointed investment bank UBS to act on the sale on behalf of the company’s fourth European opportunity fund, Blackstone Real Estate Partners VI, according to UK property magazine Estates Gazette.

According to various reports, Blackstone and the senior management of Valad Europe are running the process. A shortlist of select partners has been drawn up to become a new shareholder in the company, and the new partner being sought not only will replace Blackstone as long term financial partner but could also bring fresh co-investment capital with it.

Blackstone invested in Valad Europe as part of the purchase of the larger Valad Property Group of Australia in 2011 for $227 million and the assumption of A$600 million of debt. Valad Europe was originally acquired by Valad in 2007 and four years later its management teamed up with Blackstone to privatize the company.

The platform has €4.9 billion of assets under management in 20 different mandates and funds. It operates 22 offices and 180 staff in 13 countries.

Martyn McCarthy is chairman, while David Kirkby is managing director and chief investment officer. Christian Bearman is head of corporate and operations, and Thierry LeLeu is head of the funds management business.

Its most recent announced fundraising news came in August this year when it said it had expanded the Valad European Diversified Fund (VEDF) into France with an allocation of up to €250 million of capital to invest in the French market. The move to add French assets to the fund's existing UK and German portfolio follows a doubling-up of the fund's capacity to €1 billion, with €190 million of new equity from existing investors.