Singapore: Blackstone said to vie with Warburg, Chinese group for GLP

Global Logistics Properties. Photographer: Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg

Blackstone Group LP is considering an offer for Global Logistic Properties Ltd., potentially pitting it against Warburg Pincus and a separate Chinese group in the bidding for the $8.6 billion warehouse operator, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Warburg Pincus is forming a consortium to bid for the Singapore-based company and has been speaking with banks and potential bidding partners, according to the people. An investor group including Chinese buyout firm Hopu Investment Management also remains keen to pursue a takeover of GLP and is preparing an offer, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

Bidder groups see the support of existing GLP management, led by Chief Executive Officer Ming Mei, as key to the success of their offers, the people said. The company, which owns industrial property in China, Japan, the U.S. and Brazil, has asked for first-round offers by early February, people with knowledge of the matter said previously.

A purchase of GLP would help an acquirer take advantage of a boom in demand for warehouse space from e-commerce companies like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and JD.com Inc. GLP said last month it would conduct a strategic review of options to improve shareholder value after a request from its biggest investor, Singapore sovereign fund GIC Pte.

“For investors going long on Asia, logistics offers a direct play into the urbanization story as Asian consumers seek developed-world standard of goods and services,” Priyaranjan Kumar, regional executive director of capital markets at Cushman & Wakefield Inc. in Singapore, said by phone Thursday. “It is not surprising to see the likes of Warburg Pincus wanting to take advantage of market dislocations and further strengthen their Asia platform.”

Share Surge

Shares of GLP surged as much as 7.6 percent in Singapore trading Thursday, hitting the highest intraday level since June 2015. Representatives or officials at Blackstone, GLP, Hopu and Warburg Pincus declined to comment.

Beijing-based Hopu has been holding talks with Hillhouse Capital Management and other investors about making a joint offer for GLP, people with knowledge of the matter said in November. Hopu was part of a consortium that invested $2.5 billion in GLP’s Chinese business in 2014.

The private equity firm’s founder, veteran dealmaker Fang Fenglei, joined GLP’s investment committee that year and was appointed to the Singapore company’s board as a non-executive director.

Any deal would depend on the receptiveness of GIC, who holds a 37 percent stake in GLP, people with knowledge of the matter said in November. Hillhouse owns 8.2 percent of the company, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

China Footprint

GLP teamed up with GIC in a 2014 deal to buy IndCor Properties Inc. from Blackstone for $8.1 billion. The acquisition gave GLP access to about 117 million square feet (10.9 million square meters) of industrial real estate and helped boost its footprint in the U.S.

Blackstone is the world’s biggest private-equity real estate investor, with about $102 billion of assets under management in the industry, according to its website. It agreed in October to sell a $6.5 billion stake in Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. to China’s HNA Group Co., following a deal earlier in the year to sell Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc. to Beijing-based Anbang Insurance Group Co.

Warburg Pincus has previously invested in e-Shang Redwood Group, which owns a portfolio of logistics properties in China, Japan and South Korea. The U.S. private equity firm is also leading a buyout of ARA Asset Management Ltd. that was announced in November, valuing the Singapore real estate investment firm at S$1.78 billion ($1.2 billion).

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Bloomberg