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BlackRock Buys Private French Equity, Real Estate Analytics Platform For $1.3B

Investment giant BlackRock has agreed to acquire the French tech firm eFront, which specializes in alternative investment management software, for $1.3B. 

For BlackRock, the deal is part of a move to diversify as its more typical stock-and-bond offerings come under increasing price pressure, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The software from eFront facilitates the monitoring of complex investments, such as nontraditional infrastructure investments, including such aspects as due diligence, portfolio planning, and performance and risk analysis.

The software company is backed by private equity firm Bridgepoint, which acquired it in 2015 for about $341M.

The acquisition will complement BlackRock’s Aladdin, its risk management technology platform. Pension funds, insurance companies and other asset managers license Aladdin to analyze how different scenarios would affect their holdings, Bloomberg reports.

“There are $9 trillion in alternative assets under management in the industry today and clients are incorporating them into their investment strategies at a record pace,” BlackRock Chief Operating Officer Rob Goldstein said in a statement.

“This has created an unprecedented need for risk and investment management capabilities spanning both public and private asset classes,” Goldstein said.

BlackRock currently has about $6 trillion of assets under management, of which about $21B is real estate assets under management.

As the world's largest fund manager, BlackRock has some major real estate holdings on behalf of its clients, such as a large stake in retail owner PREIT and a portfolio of real property. The firm also made waves in New York in 2016 when it announced its intention to move its headquarters to 50 Hudson Yards.