Blackstone & Apollo Vie For BBVA’s Remaining RE

18 October 2017 – Expansión

BBVA’s real estate portfolio is sparking a lot of interest in the market. The bank is holding exclusive negotiations with Cerberus to sell its real estate manager Anida along with around €4,000 million in foreclosed assets and non-performing real estate loans. But, other investment funds do not want to miss out on the assets that they consider to be juicy and so are setting their sights on the rest of the portfolio.

Financial sources indicate that other funds, such as Apollo and Blackstone, have expressed their interest in the loans and assets linked to the property that do not end up being included in the perimeter of the portfolio sold to Cerberus. BBVA has a gross exposure to the real estate sector in Spain of €20,190 million, and so Cerberus will be acquiring around 20% of the total. The entity currently has a coverage ratio of 57% over its real estate exposure after recognising provisions amounting to €11,431 million in total, according to data as at June, the date of the most recent audited accounts. Moreover, according to sources familiar with the deal, during the negotiations, Cerberus has communicated to BBVA its intention to purchase more than the aforementioned €4,000 million in doubtful loans and foreclosed assets.

Advanced phase

The conversations with Cerberus began before the summer and are now in a very advanced phase. The operation is expected to close before the end of the year, explain sources in the sector.

BBVA’s real estate activity is grouped around Anida. The bank is one of the few entities that retained full control over its real estate business. During the crisis, several banks sold their managers to specialist funds to accelerate the divestment of their problem assets. BBVA’s plans now involve the deconsolidation of its real estate risk.

Some of the sources indicate that Cerberus decided to bid aggressively to acquire Anida after failing to get past the first round of the bidding for Popular’s toxic real estate. Its desire is so great that even the most senior figure at the firm, John Snow, met with the President of BBVA, Francisco González, to make their interest clear. In fact, Cerberus is hoping to acquire 100% of Anida, according to sources in the sector.

More than a dozen large international funds are currently buying real estate assets and loans in Spain. They include Blackstone, which reached an agreement with Santander to acquire 51% of the company created for shelving Popular’s problem assets. Meanwhile, Bain Capital is holding exclusive negotiations with Liberbank to purchase a portfolio of property worth €700 million.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Ruiz and R. Sampedro)

Translation: Carmel Drake