Blackstone continues to lead in the race for IOF

The bidding war for Investa Office Fund (ASX: IOF) has heated up in the past week with a new offer of $5.52 per unit being offered by Blackstone Group. The higher price was prompted by a rival offer from Oxford Properties Group, a Canadian based global real estate investment firm, at $5.50 per unit which outbid Blackstone’s prior offer of $5.3485 per unit.

Blackstone seems intent on finalising the offer as soon as possible, with a condition that the $5.52 offer price is only valid until 17 September and reduces to $5.3485 per unit if approved after that date. IOF is seeking judicial advice in order to reschedule the Scheme Meeting to this date in order for investors to vote on the higher offer.

The actions by Blackstone demonstrate that it has the capacity and firepower to secure the deal and outbid any rival offers. Blackstone is one of the largest asset managers in the world with around US$440 billion in Assets Under Management, and US$119 billion in real estate.

It remains to be seen whether Oxford Properties, or other bidders, come back with a higher price which would most likely be conditional on due diligence that would prolong the deal further. In any case, IOF has traded at a few cents higher than the $5.52 per unit offer, as investors lay their bets on the outcome.

After a number of unsuccessful takeover offers in the past few years, it appears that IOF is finally likely to be acquired. The only question remains “at what price, and to who ?”