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Blackstone scraps $3B takeover of property company Soho China

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Private equity giant Blackstone had hoped to expand its presence in the country through acquisition of Soho China, which holds prime real estate in cities like Beijing. AFP

Blackstone scraps $3B takeover of property company Soho China

A US private equity firm has abandoned a planned $3 billion purchase of Chinese property developer Soho China, with antitrust authorities yet to approve the deal.

Blackstone had hoped to expand its presence in the country through acquisition of Soho China, which holds prime real estate in cities like Beijing.

But its offer had been conditional upon clearance from China’s competition authorities, and the parties concluded that the pre-conditions would not be satisfied within a designated time frame, according to a filing to the Hong Kong exchange dated September 10.

Both sides have now “agreed that the offer should not be made”, the filing added.

Blackstone’s offer in June, at HK$5 per share, was over 30 per cent above Soho China’s closing price at the time – and valued the property group at HK$26 billion (US$3.3 billion).

A June filing claimed Blackstone owned around six million sqm of properties in China.

The latest joint statement did not elaborate further on why the deal fell through.

But it comes as Beijing steps up a broad crackdown on monopolistic behaviour and deals that has spooked China’s once unassailable tech giants, with regulators taking aim at industries from e-commerce to education.

The real estate sector has also been hit in recent weeks, with a crackdown making it harder to raise cash and embattled firms like real estate giant Evergrande struggling to service debts.

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