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As part of General Electric's sale of its financial services business, the Blackstone Group said it would purchase GE's real estate investment trust for around $2 billion. Blackstone's planned acquisition of Excel Trust is another in a line of big property deals for the private equity firm. Its fast-growing real estate side generated $11.4 billion in net income last year.
With its Blackstone Mortgage Trust and Invitation Homes, Blackstone is the largest holder of single family rental homes in the country. Total real estate assets under management peaked at $80 billion in 2014, more than double total holdings in 2010.
Blackstone will acquire Excel for $15.85 per share, about 15 percent over Excel's closing price on Thursday, the day before the deal was announced. Excel stock opened at $15.84 on Monday morning.
Blackstone has invested heavily in real estate in recent years, including the purchase of Equity Office Properties Trust, for $39 billion and Hilton Worldwide for $26.7 billion, both in 2007. In March, the firm scooped up Chicago's Willis Tower for which it is paying $1.3 billion. Real estate investments generated more than half of the firm's total net income in 2014.