Blackstone to buy real estate investment firm Excel Trust for $2 bn

Blackstone Property Partners, a unit of private equity firm Blackstone Group, today struck a deal to buy real estate investment trust (REIT) Excel Trust, Inc. for $2 billion in cash.

Blackstone Property will pay $15.85 per share, a premium of about 15 per cent to Excel's Thursday closing price.

Excel's board has unanimously approved the deal, which is expected to close in the second half of the year.

San Diego-based Excel is a retail focused REIT that primarily targets community shopping centers, power shopping centers, and grocery anchored neighborhood centers.  It has about 38 retail properties housing supermarkets, drug stores and department stores.

"We believe this is an excellent outcome for our stockholders," stated Gary Sabin, chairman and CEO of Excel Trust. "Appetite for high-quality retail real estate is strong with cap rates and REIT stock multiples approaching historic levels and we did not believe the market accurately reflected the value of the assets."

Blackstone Property is the largest real estate private equity firm in the world with $81 billion of assets under management. Its portfolios include premier properties in the US, Europe and Asia, with a diverse mix of hotels, office, retail, industrial, residential and healthcare investments.