Global private equity major Blackstone Group has acquired a majority stake of 75 per cent Esplanade Mall by Forum Group in Bhubaneswar, in Odisha for Rs 2.5 billion ($39 million), according to a Business Standard report quoting sources.
According to the news report, Forum Group is also in talks with Blackstone to sell stake in more of its retail projects.
“We will be delivering roughly one million square feet of retail infrastructure development every year for the next three years. We expect the joint platform with Blackstone will acquire more such properties in the future,” Vidyut Saraf, deputy managing director, Forum Group told the news paper.
At present, Forum Group has three operational malls, two in West Bengal and one in Bhubaneswar, totaling about 1.2 million square feet of developed area.
Blackstone Group has been actively increasing its present in the Indian retail space through the buyout of a number of shopping malls. Last year, it was reportedly in the race to acquire Mumbai’s XPeria Mall in Palava City, developed by Lodha Developers.
In 2016, it acquired a 50 per cent stake in Westend Mall in Pune, which houses brands such as Cinepolis, H&M, Max, Shoppers Stop and Starbucks. It had also acquired L&T Seawoods Mall in Navi Mumbai from L&T Realty. It also acquired Elante mall from the Carnival Group in Chandigarh that year
In 2015, it bought two AlphaOne malls in Amritsar and Ahmedabad from Alpha G:Corp.
According to a Cushman and Wakefield report, after a prolonged period of slow growth, the brick and mortar retail space regained momentum last year. According to estimates in the report, India is likely to see close to 34 new malls by 2020 in the top eight cities. Totalling approximately 13.6 million sq. feet, the new supply will add approximately 20% to the total available mall inventory in these cities.
Blackstone opened its real estate division in India in 2007, and has invested about $3 billion in real estate projects in India across 20 transactions and manages the largest portfolio of office parks in India.