(Adds quote in paragraph 4, data on real estate in paragraph
5, details on real estate market in paragraph 6, information on
last fund in paragraph 7, shares in paragraph 8, byline).
By Megan Davies
NEW YORK, April 1 Private equity and real
estate firm Blackstone Group (BX.N) said on Tuesday it raised
$10.9 billion to invest in real estate, and said there should
be attractive investment opportunities ahead.
Blackstone said it had raised a total of nine real estate
funds with total capital commitments of $25.7 billion. The fund
it just closed is called Blackstone Real Estate Partners VI.
Previous real estate investments Blackstone has made
include Equity Office Properties (EOP) and Hilton Hotels Corp.
"Between raising or investing, raising is by far the more
difficult task," said Michael Holland, chairman of private
investment firm Holland & Co and a former partner at
Blackstone. He said investors in the fund would have been
attracted to Blackstone's track record. "They would be taking
into account huge sales they've made -- such as EOP. Those look
right now to be reasonably brilliant."
Blackstone reported in March that its assets under
management rose 47 percent from the previous year to $102.43
billion, of which its real estate assets doubled to $26
Blackstone said that the new fund would allow it to enter
new markets and expand globally.
The U.S. commercial real estate market is enduring a tough
time. Analysts from JPMorgan Chase & Co recently predicted that
the market could decline as much as 20 percent over the next
five to eight years as tighter credit squeezes business
The last major fund Blackstone raised was a $21.7 billion
private equity fund in August.
Blackstone's shares were up $1.16 or 7.3 percent to $17.04
on the New York Stock Exchange late in the trading session.
(Reporting by Megan Davies, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)