Blackstone’s BREIT Gets $4 Billion California Injection


(Bloomberg) — Blackstone Inc. is getting a $4 billion cash infusion from the University of California for its massive real estate fund Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust, which has faced heightened pressure from investors pulling cash.

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UC Investments will invest the $4 billion in the Class I common shares, the largest existing share class, according to a statement on Tuesday.

BREIT, which was designed for wealthy individual investors, has struggled in recent months and been forced to limit withdrawals, raising concerns about Blackstone’s growing reliance on the mass affluent, who may be more fickle in volatile markets than the firm’s traditional institutional investor base. The redemption restrictions have prompted queries from the Securities and Exchange Commission across the broader industry.

The University of California’s investment arm, which oversees $150 billion, reached out to Blackstone after media reports about BREIT. The deal will provide BREIT with a longer-term source of capital, as the University of California’s investment has a six-year hold period versus monthly liquidity for BREIT shareholders.

Blackstone will also add $1 billion of its current BREIT holdings into a joint venture with University of California, a deal that is expected to ensure an 11.25% minimum annualized net return for the university investor.

“We are extremely pleased to have the endorsement of UC Investments, one of the most sophisticated institutional investors globally,” Jon Gray, Blackstone’s president, said in the statement.

Blackstone Chief Executive Officer Steve Schwarzman said in December that BREIT’s redemptions were spurred by investors needing liquidity, rather than any indication of the fund’s performance.

Last year through November, returns totaled 8.4% for a popular BREIT share class. Blackstone has attributed BREIT’s outperformance to its focus on residential and industrial properties in markets where limited supplies support steady rent increases and high cash flow.

“This type of large, opportunistic investment effectively leverages the UC’s more than $150 billion portfolio,” said University of California Regent Richard Sherman, Chair of the Investments Committee.

(Updates with terms of University of California investment in fourth paragraph.)

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