Blackstone spends €130m on UK last-mile assets

Private equity giant Blackstone has acquired 22 UK logistics assets from private real estate fund manager Clearbell Capital for £120 mln (€130 mln).

The properties are located across the UK, largely in suburban areas, fulfilling last-mile delivery capabilities.

Blackstone returned to logistics investment in a significant way last year, establishing its €8 bn pan-European Mileway venture in September 2019 with a focus on strategic urban last-mile assets, which are crucial to e-commerce. Weeks later, it acquired Colony Capital's US-focused industrial arm for $5.9 bn (€5.4 bn). In December, Blackstone also bought out UK industrial REIT Hansteen in a £500 mln deal.

Mileway owns and operates 1,300 last-mile assets comprising more than 10.7 million m2 of space across 10 major European economies, including the UK, France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and the Nordics.

Despite the Covid-19 crisis already having an impact on global deal flow, e-commerce is expected to be one of the more defensive markets during the downturn. In a recent report, global logistics giant Prologis said that its leasing activity through early March was still resilient, particularly from tenants serving essential daily needs, via e-commerce and rapid replenishment to stores.

Globally, e-commerce giants are bracing themselves for increased demand. Cushman & Wakefield reports that Amazon is planning to hire an additional 100,000 employees for its logistics centres in the US and increase wages for all employees by $2 an hour.

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