When General Electric executives phoned Blackstone Group’s Lexington Avenue office in March to propose one of the largest real estate deals in U.S. history, Kenneth Caplan’s first reaction was surprise.
“We were not expecting the call,” the global chief investment officer of Blackstone’s real estate group said. “They had been selling off parts [of their real estate holdings] and we had bought some smaller portfolios.” He assumed GE would continue to sell piecemeal, if at all. But GE had a very different plan: It wanted to sell its entire $26.5 billion property portfolio at once, and it wanted Blackstone to buy it. [more]