Blackstone, Panchshil Realty to buy Express Towers for Rs900 crore: report

Express Towers, the first tallest commercial building to be built on the reclaimed land of Nariman Point, will soon be bought by a consortium comprising US private equity firm Blackstone Group and Pune-based developer Panchshil Realty, for Rs900 crore ($143.5 million).

Express TowersCiting unnamed people involved in the ongoing negotiations, The Economic Times today reported that after months of negotiations, Blackstone together with one of its portfolio companies, and Panchshil, is buying out the current owners - the Indian Express Group and ICICI Venture.

Indian Express Group holds a 51 per cent stake while the remaining 49 per cent is held by ICICI Venture, which acquired the stake in 2008 for around Rs358 crore.

The deal does not include the top-floor penthouse of Indian Express chairman & managing director Vivek Goenka, restaurants owned by members of the Goenka family and Express Group offices.

The Blackstone-Panchshil combine will buy 3,84,000 sq ft of the total leasable area of around 400,000 sq ft, the report said.

The 25-storey Express Towers, located on Marine Drive in Nariman Point, was commissioned by Indian Express owner Ramnath Goenka and designed by Joseph Allen Stein, an American architect, which was the only high-rise he ever designed.

The building, completed in 1972, is 105 metres in height, and was the tallest building in South Asia, surpassing the 101 metres tall Habib Bank Plaza in Karachi.

Express Towers, which underwent extensive renovation this year, has tenants that include Blackstone, Ernst & Young, McKinsey & Co, Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic.