BlackRock makes billion-dollar bet on real estate analytics

The world's largest asset manager agreed to buy French software provider eFront for $1.3B

Blackrock CEO Laurence Douglas Fink (Credit: Getty Images)
Blackrock CEO Laurence Douglas Fink (Credit: Getty Images)

In an attempt to further diversify its products, BlackRock is pushing further into the tech sector with the $1.3 billion acquisition of a real estate analytics firm.

The firm will wholly acquire French company eFront, which offers real estate investors and private equity firms analytics on their portfolio’s performance, and provides guidance on adhering to accounting and regulatory obligations, according to Bloomberg.

eFront CEO Tarek Chouman (Credit: Twitter)

As the world’s largest asset manager with $6 trillion under management, BlackRock is seeking to offer more products in the tech sector. It reportedly outbid IHS Markit for eFront, which is also attempting to muscle its way into the sector.

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Aladdin, another firm BlackRock purchased, is used by its customers — including pension funds and insurance companies — to generate risk management strategies to reduce the effect on holdings. Increased demand for Aladdin reportedly drove tech revenues for BlackRock last year.

BlackRock has also upped the ante on its real estate products. In the third quarter of last year, it increased its stake in brokerage RE/MAX by 5.2 percent, to 15.2 percent, a portion valued at $114 million.

Launched in 1999, eFront reportedly has 700 clients across 48 countries as of 2018. The analytics firm was reportedly bought by Bridgepoint in 2015 for 300 million euros. [Bloomberg] — David Jeans