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Rediff.com  » Business » Express Towers sale talks hit valuation wall

Express Towers sale talks hit valuation wall

October 18, 2013 12:40 IST

CalculationsTalks between the Blackstone-Panchshil Realty combine and the owners of Express Towers here over the sale of the iconic commercial building were stuck due to differences over valuation, said an executive in the know.

While private equity giant Blackstone and Pune-based realtor Panchshil Realty had offered Rs 800 crore for the building at Nariman Point, the building’s owners -- Viveck Goenka, chairman and managing director of the Indian Express Group, and private equity firm ICICI Venture (which has 49 per cent stake in the property) -- expected the sale to fetch Rs 900 crore, said the executive.

He added the Blackstone-Panchshil combine sought to buy the entire stake in the property, not just ICICI Venture’s stake.

When contacted, Blackstone executives did not comment on the talks. An ICICI Venture spokesperson declined to comment.

A mail to Goenka did not elicit any response. Vaidehi Thakar, director (corporate and legal affairs) at Indian Express Ltd, refused to comment on the matter.

Sources in Panchshil Realty said the owners of Express Towers would hold another round of bidding for the property.

Express Towers, built in 1972, is known for its colonial architecture.

The building has 25 floors and leasable space of 4,00,000 sq ft.

In 2008, ICICI Venture acquired 49 per cent stake in the building for about Rs 358 crore. It expects the sale of its stake to fetch Rs 500-550 crore.

After it bought stake in the property, ICICI Venture refurbished the building’s interiors.

It had planned to list yield-generating assets such as Express Towers, but tough market conditions played spoilsport.

For Blackstone, which occupies an entire floor on Express Towers, the property would add its commercial portfolio.

Through the last few years, the company has been steadily acquiring commercial projects, including the DLF-Ackruti information technology park in Pune and a special purpose vehicle of Embassy.

Panchshil, led by Pune-based realtor Atul Chordia, was considering expanding its commercial portfolio with the bid, said the executive quoted earlier.

Raghavendra Kamath in Mumbai
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