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Blackstone Said to Raise More Than $6 Billion for Property Fund

Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Blackstone Group LP secured more than $6 billion of pledged capital for a new real estate fund that will buy mainly distressed-property assets, said two people with knowledge of the fundraising.

The New York-based buyout firm plans to raise at least $10 billion for the fund, known as Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the capital-raising is private. Blackstone expects the vehicle to be fully funded this year, they said.

The company has remained one of the most active investors in commercial real estate at a time when such Wall Street competitors as Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Whitehall funds and Morgan Stanley’s real estate funds retreated after incurring losses in the crash.

“Blackstone is in a bit of a unique position because so many mega-funds have been eliminated or are struggling with ongoing legacy issues,” said James Corl, a managing director at Siguler Guff & Co., a New York-based private-equity firm that raised $630 million for distressed-property investments.

Christine Anderson, a Blackstone spokeswoman, declined to comment.

Separately, the firm named Jonathan Gray sole head of global real estate and made Chad Pike, formerly co-head with Gray, a vice chairman of Blackstone Europe, according to a letter sent to investors last month. Gray, who joined the firm in 1992, sits on its management and executive committees.

Pike, who joined Blackstone in 1995, will continue to be responsible mainly for real estate and may take on additional duties, said the two people with knowledge of the firm.

Europe, Asia

Kenneth Caplan, based in London, was promoted to head of European real estate for Blackstone and Christopher Heady, who works out of Hong Kong, was named head of Asia real estate, according to the letter to investors. Caplan has been with Blackstone since 1997, and Heady since 2000. All the executives are senior managing directors.

The management changes were reported last week by the U.K. website PropertyWeek.com.

Blackstone’s real estate group employs about 200 people globally. The unit had more than $40 billion of assets under management as of Sept. 30, according to the firm’s website. The firm told investors in August that it had raised $4 billion in the first round of fundraising for Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII, four months after it began the effort.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hui-yong Yu in Seattle at hyu@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Taub at dtaub@bloomberg.net

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