Blackstone Hires Ares Partner Bartling as Invitation CEO

John Bartling, a senior partner at Ares Management LP, will become president and chief executive officer of Blackstone Group LP’s Invitation Homes LP unit, the largest U.S. landlord of single-family houses.

Bartling, 58, who was co-head of the global real estate group at Ares, will take over as CEO of Dallas-based Invitation Homes on Nov. 3, according to the company. New York-based Blackstone started the business in 2012, and Invitation Homes now owns 46,000 properties across the country.

“This is a business that has come together very quickly and yet it’s one that’s in a great place to really now go to that next step,” Bartling said. “I’m looking forward to taking a leadership role and taking it there.”

Blackstone is planning an initial public offering for Invitation Homes for as soon as next year, a person with knowledge of the matter said last month. Five single-family rental landlords have already had IPOs. Private-equity firms, hedge funds and other institutional investors have spent more than $25 billion on about 150,000 houses since 2012, according to Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc.

Invitation Homes, which snapped up foreclosed properties after values fell as much as 35 percent from the 2006 peak, has slowed purchases this year as prices surged.

“I still see growth as an opportunity,” Bartling said in a telephone interview. “There’s going to be consolidation in the space. There’s going to be continued buying opportunities around the country.”

He declined to discuss IPO plans for Invitation Homes.

Walden, Lexford

Bartling was appointed as head of Ares’s real estate group in 2010, and assets under management grew to about $8 billion during his tenure. He was previously CEO at both Walden Residential Properties Inc. and Lexford Residential Trust, where he worked with Chief Operating Officer Leslie Fox, who now has the same title at Invitation Homes. Equity Residential, the largest U.S. apartment owner, bought Lexford in 1999 and sold it in 2006.

Nick Gould, who teamed up with Blackstone to start Invitation Homes and has been its CEO, will become vice chairman, the company said. Gary DeLapp, the current president, also will join the board. Bryce Blair, former chairman and CEO of apartment landlord AvalonBay Communities Inc., who was added last year to the Invitation Homes board, will become executive chairman.

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