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Brookfield Joins Blackstone With $15B Fund Aimed At Real Estate Megadeals

Brookfield Place in Lower Manhattan

Brookfield Asset Management has put the finishing touches on a $15B property fund, which it already used to buy Forest City Realty Trust last year.

Brookfield closed the $15B flagship fund, the Canadian equity giant announced Thursday, exceeding its stated goal of $10B and easily becoming the largest property fund in the firm's history. The only firm that has raised a bigger property fund is Blackstone, which raised a $15.8B fund in 2015 and is close to closing its next fund, which could eclipse $20B.

Brookfield and its subsidiary, Brookfield Property Partners, committed $3.75B in equity to the fund, Brookfield Strategic Real Estate Partners III, and the rest of the investment came from a mix of sovereign wealth funds, pension plans, university endowments, family offices and financial institutions.

The fund has already spent more than $5B over 10 transactions, including its privatization of Forest City last year — it paid $6.8B in cash to acquire the REIT — and its acquisition via a $1.1B ground lease of 666 Fifth Ave. in Manhattan, the former crown jewel in the Kushner family real estate empire. It will continue to target larger deals, including possibly buying other REITs.

"You can’t put $15B to work $50M at a time,” Brookfield Property CEO Brian Kingston told the Wall Street Journal. “We need large-scale transactions.”

Whereas it had targeted land development deals in its last fund, the realities of the current real estate market, in which many investors believe a downturn is either imminent or has already begun, will keep BSREP III targeting real estate in the world's top markets and REITs that have stock prices undervalued relative to the worth of their real estate. 

“Brookfield has exhibited patience with their acquisitions … They are not afraid [to buy] properties [that are] out of favor and take them private and operate them privately for their investors,” REIT analyst Paul Adornato told Bisnow following Brookfield's Forest City buy. “They have experience in these geographies, that is urban areas, and they’re not afraid to weather the current storms for the good of the long term.”