US-based private-equity property investor Blackstone Group is expanding its apartments holdings in Japan as it has reached an agreement to buy GE Japan Corp's residential property business in the country.
Blackstone will pay more than 190bn yen ($1.6bn, €1.3bn, £1bn) for the assets in Japan's largest property deal for 2014. The deal involves more than 10,000 apartment units in 200 properties in Japanese cities Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka the company said in a statement.
Blackstone's latest deal tops Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte's acquisition of an office tower in Tokyo for about 170bn yen.
"We continue to believe strongly in the residential sector's fundamentals, especially in Japan's major cities," said Alan Miyasaki, senior managing director at Blackstone.
"We are excited by the opportunity to invest in such a high-quality and well managed business."
The deal comes as GE' real estate unit is exiting from its property investments across the globe. GE Capital Real Estate, focused on office, multifamily, retail and warehouse assets, hotels and development projects, has global assets of $36bn.
"This transaction supports our global strategy to reduce our equity book as we continue to build our global debt operations," said Francois Trausch, CEO Asia-Pacific at GE Capital Real Estate.
Meanwhile, Blackstone looks to capitalise on the lower property prices in Japan due to the slide in the Japanese yen, which has declined 14% in the past four months against the dollar.
The biggest US single-family rental-home landlord has more than $80bn in investor capital under management. Its real estate portfolio includes hotel, office, retail, industrial and residential properties in the US, Europe, Asia and Latin America.