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Portfolio > Alternative Investments > Real Estate

Blackstone to buy $3 billion in Calpers property fund stakes

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(Bloomberg) — Blackstone Group LP agreed to buy $3 billion of real estate fund stakes from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System as the pension plan moves to become leaner.

Blackstone’s Strategic Partners unit will acquire Calpers’ share in 43 funds from around the globe, according to a statement Thursday from the New York-based firm. In June, Calpers said it would sell as much as $3 billion of its real estate portfolio as part of a broader plan to reduce costs and invest with fewer asset managers.

Calpers, which invests with about 200 managers across asset classes, plans to cut that in half by 2020. The pension plan started restructuring its real estate portfolio after a 37 percent loss in 2010, when it wrote off speculative residential investments as property values slumped. The fund, which has $27.1 billion in real estate holdings, is now focusing on core income investments such as rental apartments, industrial parks, offices and retail space.

The transaction with Blackstone “offloads assets that no longer fit with our strategic goals in real estate and also reduces the number of managers in our program,” Joe DeAnda, a Calpers spokesman, said Thursday by telephone.

Blackstone, the world’s biggest alternative-asset manager, added a unit to buy stakes in investment funds when it acquired Strategic Partners from Credit Suisse Group AG in 2013. Run by Stephen Can and Verdun Perry, the business had $17.3 billion in committed capital as of Sept. 30, of which $4.2 billion was available to invest, according to Blackstone’s third-quarter earnings statement.

Calpers was advised on the transaction by Park Hill Group, which split from Blackstone this year to become part of the publicly traded advisory firm PJT Partners Inc.