Not so set in Blackstone; on the grapevine

S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of Asia-Pacific real estate news stories and more published throughout the week. Please note that some entries may have links to third-party sources that may require a subscription.

Not so set in Blackstone

* Blackstone Group LP extended the bidding deadline for its A$3.5 billion retail portfolio in Australia to May 31 from May 18. The portfolio is said to be the biggest real estate sale in the country this year and has caught the attention of locals like Lendlease Corp. Ltd. and Charter Hall Group.

* Meanwhile, the private equity giant's bid to buy Global Logistic Properties Ltd. remains uncertain, as executives at GLP said the strategic review of the company's future is still underway. A GLP committee is engaged with a number of interested parties — which include Blackstone, Warburg Pincus and Suning Holdings Group Co. — about an outright sale of the company, an option that was presented in late 2016.

Separately, GLP said it will keep up its long-term strategy that delivered a 10% year-over-year increase in profit after tax and minority interests to a historically high level of US$794 million from US$719 million.

On the grapevine

* A 35% stake in Nomura Real Estate Holdings Inc. is rumored to be on the market, with owner Nomura Holdings Inc. reportedly in discussions with Japan Post Holdings Co. Nomura Holdings later clarified that it did not announce anything about a deal and will not comment on the matter any further.

According to sources cited by Bloomberg News, a stake deal is expected to open the door for Japan Post to take over the ¥389 billion real estate company.

* Li Ka-shing is believed to be mulling the sale of his conglomerate's fixed-line business, Hutchison Global Communications Ltd. The possible US$1 billion divestment is one of the options that the Cheung Kong Property Holdings Ltd. and CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd. founder is exploring for the unit, according to unnamed sources.

* A Hong Kong-based company is in talks with the owner of the Gherkin tower, formally known as 30 St Mary Axe, in London, according to two sources cited by London's Financial Times. If a deal is signed, Lee Kum Kee could pay Safra Group a price representing a 4% yield. Safra Group purchased the asset in 2014 at £726 million.

IOF on the fence

* Unit holders of Investa Office Fund are meeting May 31 to vote on a A$45 million restructuring proposal, following news this week that seems to indicate uncertain results for the internalization plan.

IOF shareholder and die-hard suitor Cromwell Property Group said it will vote its approximately 9.83% stake in IOF against the proposal, while proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services advised unit holders to do the same due to IOF's failure to make a compelling case for the stake buy. Supporting the fund's proposal are shareholder BT Funds Management and another proxy firm Ownership Matters.

Hoping for the best

* Hong Kong started the week with a HK$30.51 billion payday by awarding 50-year land grants for two sites in the city. A residential site in Kowloon went to a joint venture between KWG Property Holding Ltd. and Longfor Properties Co. Ltd. for HK$7.23 billion, while a commercial site on Murray Road was sold for a cool HK$23.28 billion to a Henderson Land Development Co. Ltd. unit.

The Murray Road site, located in Hong Kong's prime Central area, marked the most expensive site sale in the special administrative region in 20 years.

A JPMorgan analysis cited by the South China Morning Post said the record-breaking deal for the Murray Road site, the home of a five-level public car park, may have lifted property values in the Central neighborhood. In fact, according to analysts, Cheung Kong, in particular, might enjoy an additional HK$5 in its per-share net asset value when the 22-story Hutchison House tower in Central is revalued.

* Speaking of record sales, Longfor is hoping to win the bidding for a residential site in Singapore, where home sales more than doubled in April year over year. The Chinese company offered S$1 billion for the land parcel, which can accommodate about 1,110 flats.

* In the week, two Asian companies pressed on with plans to spin off parts of their businesses.

Aspial Corp. Ltd. is planning an IPO of its real estate business — which operates in Australia and Malaysia — on the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Ltd.'s Catalist board, details of which are scarce.

On the other hand, Road King Infrastructure is targeting at least US$200 million in gross proceeds from the listing of its expressway business, an offering expected to boost the subsidiary's post-listing market cap to more than HK$5.0 billion.

* The Employees Provident Fund of Malaysia is entering South Korea's real estate market, with the fund awarding US$900 million in investment mandates to three local asset managers. Kamarulzaman Hassan, the fund's global head of real estate, hopes to also expand in other Asian and European markets, as it moves to sell its office holdings in Australia and the U.K.

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Hires and Fires Asia-Pacific Real Estate moves through May 16: S&P Global Market Intelligence presents a weekly rundown of recent significant management and board changes and personnel moves in the Asia-Pacific real estate industry.

The Property Ledger: Far East Consortium sells hotel for HK$450M; Ingenia begins 5-community buy: The May 17 edition of the Asia-Pacific property news recap also features Charter Hall's buy of a Bunnings property in Queensland, Australia, and a Ticon Industrial joint venture's investment in the first built-to-suit factory in Bangplee, Thailand.

Celestyn Wong contributed to this report.