Multiple sources are reporting that Blackstone Group LP, the world's largest private-equity firm, has agreed to buy 180 properties from warehouse giant ProLogis for $1 billion. The deal is significant in that it signals confidence in a sector that was battered during the recession by a fall-off in trade and inventories. Blackstone has been acquiring property assets after values fell and vacancies rose amid the historical economic slump.
The sale is said to involve more than 20 million square feet of warehouse and distribution property in a variety of U.S. markets. It has not yet been announced what properties specifically Blackstone will be buying so it is too early to tell if they are getting a deal on the transaction. The fact remains though that industrial real-estate prices have bounced back more slowly than office buildings, shopping malls and other kinds of commercial real estate due mainly to retailers slowly re-stocking their inventories.