02/14/2019 | by
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Taubman Centers, Inc. (NYSE: TCO) said Feb. 14 that it has agreed to sell half its interest in its three Asia shopping centers to The Blackstone Group in a transaction valued at $480 million. The centers are located in South Korea and China.

On a fourth quarter 2018 earnings call, CEO Robert Taubman said the transaction confirms the value the REIT has created with its Asia platform, noting the company is recycling capital through the deal and improving its liquidity by nearly $500 million.

“We believe the Blackstone partnership represents a tremendous achievement for the company,” he said. The centers involved in the deal are Starfield Hanam in South Korea, and CityOn.Xi’an and CityOn.Zhengzhou in China.

“[This transaction] reduces leverage significantly yet will still be accretive to FFO per share,” he said. “Importantly, we have gained a valuable, strategic partner in Blackstone.”

In a press release, Chris Heady, chairman of Asia Pacific and head of real estate Asia at Blackstone, said Blackstone is excited to partner with a “best-in-class developer and operator” in Taubman.

“In partnership with Wangfujing in China and Shinsegae in South Korea, Taubman has built an impressive platform of three world class and dominant shopping centers and we look forward to working closely together in the future,” Heady said.

Taubman owns, manages, and leases 26 regional, super-regional, and outlet shopping centers in the U.S. and Asia. Taubman Asia was founded in 2005 and is headquartered in Hong Kong.