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Soho China Billionaire Couple Lose Suitor As $3 Bln Acquisition Talks With Blackstone End

Soho China, one of China’s largest and best-known commercial real estate developers, and Blackstone Group have ended talks under which the U.S. investment firm would have purchased the Beijing-headquartered company in a transaction worth $3 billion.

The two, which announced a preliminary agreement in June, cited “a lack of progress” in the decision, according to a filing on Friday.  

The deal came as China’s economy continues to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, and signaled Blackstock’s confidence in the country’s longer-term prospects, even amid a period of geopolitical tension between China and the United States as well as left-leaning political shifts in Beijing.  Blackstone offered HK$5 a share; Soho China closed at HK$3.50 on Friday at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Founded in 1995 and controlled by billionaire couple Pan Shiyi and Zhang Xin, Soho China owns approximately 1.3 million square meters of real estate, largely in Shanghai and Beijing.   Distinctive projects with architect Zaha Hadid, who died in 2016, helped to put the couple and Zhang on the global real estate map. 

The two are worth $3.8 billion on the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List today.

Blackstone had $196 billion of real estate investments as of March 31. The company is led by American billionaire Stephen Schwarzman, the son of a dry-goods store owner whose philanthropy includes a school in Beijing, Schwarzman College. New York-traded shares in Blackstone Group lost 0.5% on Friday to close at $128.74.  

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In other recent China investments, Blackstone last November bought a 70% stake in an urban logistics park in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou for $1.1 billion from R&F Group, expanding Blackstone’s China logistics portfolio by approximately one-third.

China, the world’s second-largest economy, is home to the second-largest number of billionaires after the United States.

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@rflannerychina

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