AMP’s Real Estate Funds Management business is understood to have attracted the attention of three potential bidders looking to expand their presence in the strong office and industrial property sectors.
Speculation of a deal has swirled among analysts and rival industry executives, even though the real estate business is core to AMP Capital’s global growth strategy.
Charter Hall, Macquarie Bank and the giant private equity Blackstone, which lost out to the Canadian-based Oxford Properties in the battle for control of Investa Office Fund last year, are said to be running the ruler over the business.
AMP Capital Investors is one of the largest real estate fund managers in the Asia-Pacific with more than 50 years experience in real estate investment and a team of more than 540 people. It has more than $26 billion in assets under management on behalf of institutional and retail investors.
An AMP spokesperson said they do not comment on market speculation.
AMP Capital global head of real estate is Carmel Hourigan, who has substantial experience in the listed and unlisted property sectors. The group also has a significant shopping centre fund and extensive exposure to the booming office and industrial sectors.
Its current biggest development is the $2 billion Quay Quarter Tower at 50 Bridge Street, Sydney. Deloitte Australia recently confirmed it would be taking a 10-year lease over 32,000 square metres.
Charter Hall, run by chief executive David Harrison, has expended the business by buying investment platforms with Macquarie in 2010 and last year acquired the Folkestone business founded by property stalwart Greg Paramour.
In a sign of the strength of the office and industrial markets, all Folkestone staff were retained by Charter Hall.
Mr Harrison has steered Charter Hall into a successful funds management business and has the balance sheet capacity to take over the AMP real estate business.
Property sources have said Mr Harrison and the Charter Hall management are ”very acquisitive” and that ”AMP would make a good fit”.
Charter Hall share price has risen about 13 per cent over the past four week propelled by its solid half-year result to December 31, 2018.
Macquarie Bank and Blackstone are also keen to expand their real estate presence. The Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) is the world’s largest infrastructure asset manager with growing portfolios in real estate, agriculture and energy.
Blackstone also has the fire power to make an approach as it would give the group an established platform in the Australian market. It already owns local individual assets but has no funds management business in the country.