Brixmor plans to become public REIT in $787.5 million offering
Brixmor Property Group plans to launch the largest retail REIT IPO since Simon Property Group went public in 1993. The company, controlled by New York City–based private equity firm Blackstone Group LP, said in a regulatory filing it plans to raise $787.5 million by selling 37.5 million shares for $19 to $21 each. The company plans to use the funds to repay a $628.5 million line of credit. A Blackstone real estate fund paid $9.2 billion for Australia–based Centro Properties’ 92 million square feet of U.S. assets in 2011, then changed the company’s name to Brixmor shortly after. Investors are clamoring to get a piece of retail REITs these days, observers say. “I have not heard of any retail REIT having difficulty getting capital on either shopping centers or malls,” said Adam Cristelli, an equity analyst at Heitman Real Estate Securities. “For higher-quality portfolios, you are going to have an easier time and get better pricing, but the door isn’t closed to any public REIT in retail.” Brixmor is only one of the real estate assets Blackstone is seeking to liquidate. The company has also announced plans to take its hotel chains Hilton Worldwide and Extended Stay America Inc. public in coming months. Brixmor currently owns and operates 522 retail centers, more than 70 percent of which are anchored by a market-leading grocery store, the company said in the filing. Most of the centers are located in the Eastern U.S. and Midwest. Brixmor plans to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker BRX.