Blackstone Said in Talks to Buy Eight Italian Buildings

Blackstone Group LP is in exclusive talks to buy eight buildings in Italy for about 250 million euros ($336 million) in a sale-and-leaseback deal, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Blackstone, the world’s biggest manager of alternatives to stocks and bonds, has been given the sole right to bid for buildings occupied by government agencies, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.

The buildings that Blackstone is trying to acquire are among the 21 properties offered for sale by Fondo Immobili Pubblici, a fund managed by Investire Immobiliare SGR. The nine-year leases on the properties will be paid by the Agenzia del Demanio, Italy’s public property agency, the people said.

Italy in the past three years has struggled to sell real estate assets as the government sought to cut Europe’s second-biggest debt burden at more than 2 trillion euros. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s latest, scaled-down plan is to sell 500 million euros of property a year over the next three years. While Blackstone’s purchase wouldn’t add to the government’s revenue, it’s a sign of a renewed interest in the Italian market.

Blackstone is purchasing Italian real estate as the country emerges from a recession. The New York-based firm has bought assets with a nominal value of 2 billion euros in Italy during the past 12 months.

Blackstone, which works in Italy with Milan-based Kryalos Asset Management Srl, expects the latest Italian transaction to be completed in the third quarter, one of the people said.

An outside spokesman for Banca Finnat Euramerica SpA’s Investire Immobiliare declined to comment. Andrew Dowler, a spokesman for Blackstone in London, also declined to comment.

FIP was created in 2004 when it purchased 3.7 billion euros of government-occupied properties and leased them back to the government. FIP had sold 154 properties for 1.04 billion euros as of December 2013, according to FIP’s website.

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