Blackstone’s Ocean makes a play for Italy’s Atlantic

Blackstone is seeking more exposure to the recovering Italian property market by making a bid for a listed fund.

Ocean Realty, a Blackstone subsidiary, has launched a €151.7m takeover offer for the entire shares of mutual fund Atlantic 1.

The fund owns a mixed portfolio of properties including Carrefour supermarkets and the headquarters of oil and gas company Eni.

Ocean has pitched its offer at a 20% premium to the fund’s mid-March share price, but a 40% discount to its net asset value.

In March, Fortress-owned Eurocastle and European investment group GWM failed to reach their target of acquiring 40% of another listed Italian property fund, UniCreditor Immobiliare 1, with a tender price also pitched at a near 40% discount.

The pair announced on 21 March that they had managed to buy 15% of the shares. The €500m fund’s assets also include a mix of supermarkets and offices, including the headquarters of the Il Sole 24 Ore newspaper and Pirelli in Milan.

Both funds are owned by large numbers of private retail investors. Last September in Italy, Blackstone bought the Franci-acorta outlet centre near Brescia at a discount to its value, from one of the liquidating Degi open-ended funds.

Atlantic 1 is one of two funds originally launched by Goldman Sachs Whitehall Funds that are now managed by Italian asset manager IDeA Fimit.

Part of Atlantic 2’s €490m syndicated debt pile was securitised in the Berenice loan in the Taurus 2 CMBS, which is due to mature next year.

The fund is listed, but majority owned by the Lehman estate, which was the lender to Whitehall.