Blackstone to buy 80% in Pune mall for Rs310 crore

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Bengaluru: Global private equity firm Blackstone Group Lp is set to buy an 80% majority stake in Nitesh Hub, a shopping mall in Koregaon Park, Pune from real estate firm Nitesh Estates Ltd for around Rs310 crore, said two people familiar with the transaction, who did not wish to be named.

The remaining stake in the mall will remain with Bengaluru-based Nitesh Estates.

Once the transaction is concluded, existing investor Goldman Sachs Group Inc. will exit the project.

“The mall is going to be turned into a mixed-use development which will have retail and office space along with food and beverage and entertainment facilities,” said one of the persons cited above.

On Monday, Nitesh Estates informed the BSE that discussions are on with an investor regarding the Pune mall and are expected to conclude by 30 April. It did not disclose the name of the investor and other details.

In 2015, Nitesh Estates had bought Park Plaza Centre, a shopping mall, in Pune’s Koregaon area for Rs250 crore from Israeli firm Elbit Imaging Ltd, marking its entry into the Pune property market. Investment bank Goldman Sachs had backed the acquisition with $37 million. Goldman Sachs’ investment was part of an investment partnership with Nitesh Estates where the two would jointly invest up to $250 million in commercial real estate assets across cities.

Nitesh Estates later refurbished and rebranded the mall, where a million sq. ft is operational, while the remaining 200,000 sq. ft is yet to be constructed.

A Blackstone spokesperson declined to comment. Goldman Sachs did not respond to an email query.

Blackstone’s real estate arm has committed around $4.1 billion across 27 investments in India, making it possibly the largest owner of commercial office assets in the country.
Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte Ltd, which bought a stake in DLF Ltd’s rental arm for Rs8,900 crore last year, would be the other large investor in office projects in India.
In the last year, Blackstone’s India subsidiary Nexus Malls has also increased its portfolio from 2.8 million sq. ft to 5 million sq. ft across eight malls.

Founded in 2004, Nitesh Estates has a predominantly residential portfolio, apart from commercial office, hospitality and retail assets.livemint