NEW YORK CITY-The Blackstone Group will take over the managementof a $2-billion portfolio of Asian real estate investmentsoriginally established by Merrill Lynch, the FinancialTimes reported Monday. Although Blackstone’s deal with Bank ofAmerica reportedly calls for it to help unwind the Merrillportfolio and not to acquire any assets from it, the FTsays the agreement will help the private equity giant,headquartered at 345 Park Ave., ramp up its Asian presence.

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For its part, BofA says sponsoring real investment “will not bea core business” going forward, according to the FT. In aletter to investors obtained by the FT, Blackstone wrote, “We haveseen stabilization in our high-quality office portfolios andexperienced a solid recovery in cash flow in the hotel assets inour portfolios. As a result, these improvements led to our firstasset valuation increases in several years.”

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The deal, which the Wall Street Journal says isexpected to close in September, follows Citigroup’s sale of itsglobal real estate investment unit to Apollo Management LP, in adeal first reported by Bloomberg in March. Blackstone declined tocomment on the BofA agreement, according to the FT. Clickhere for the complete article.

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Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny is managing editor of Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com. He has been reporting on business since 1988 and on commercial real estate since 2007. He is based at ALM Real Estate Media Group's offices in New York City.