PE-backed Homeplus withdraws $1.5b REIT listing on weak demand

Photo: Reuters

Homeplus Co., backed by private-equity firm MBK Partners Ltd., has withdrawn a planned real estate investment trust listing, dashing hopes that the retailer would transform South Korea’s nascent REIT market with the country’s biggest-ever deal.

Korea Retail Home Plus REIT 1 decided to cancel the planned initial public offering of as much as 1.7 trillion won ($1.5 billion) after gauging investor demand, the company said in an emailed statement Thursday. Investors are not used to large REIT offerings in South Korea and overseas demand fell below expectations, according to the statement.

The South Korean government has been encouraging REIT listings to attract investment into commercial real estate instead of the country’s long-hot housing market. The number of listed REITs in Asia’s fourth-largest economy is still small, with only six publicly traded property trusts out of the total of 222, data from the government show.

Homeplus planned to price the unit sale Thursday and begin trading March 29, according to terms for the deal obtained by Bloomberg earlier. It offered 345.5 million units at 4,530 won to 5,000 won apiece, the terms show.

Lotte Group, another Korean retail giant, was also seeking to set up an asset management company for a REIT, a spokesman said this month.

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S Korea’s PE-owned hypermarket chain Homeplus files for up to $1.5b REIT offering

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.