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Blackstone To Buy Warehouses From Harvard, Including Coveted Last-Mile Properties

Deal-hungry Blackstone Group is reportedly planning to buy more than 100 warehouses from Harvard University's endowment for about $950M. Most of the properties are in the southeastern United States.

Harvard University's Widener Library

Most of the properties are also last-mile warehouses, Bloomberg reports, meaning those typically in high-population locations coveted by e-commerce logistic firms whose goal is to deliver goods quickly after consumers order them online.

Last-mile industrial properties have been trading with considerable briskness recently, as investors look to both buy and sell them in different parts of the country.

The Harvard endowment's business arm, Harvard Management Co., previously acquired the properties in partnership with Atlanta-based MDH Partners.

MDH Partners has spent an estimated $560M acquiring 80 properties in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic since 2014, Pensions & Investments reports, citing Real Capital Analytics data.

Currently, Harvard's endowment totals about $37.1B, the country's largest. The university's real estate portfolio totals about $3.4B, counting the industrial properties it is planning to sell.

The endowment has done well with its real estate holdings, which in fiscal 2016, saw a 13.8% return on investment. Harvard did not report returns for each of its asset classes for fiscal 2017.

Overall, Harvard Management Co. returned 8.1% on its investments in fiscal 2017. CEO N.P. Narvekar called the performance “a symptom of deep structural problems at HMC," the Harvard Crimson reports, since the return compares unfavorably to those of most other large university endowments.

It is unclear how much Harvard would profit from the sale of the warehouses.