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Blackstone to buy PS Business Parks in $7.6 billion take-private deal

April 25 (Reuters) - Blackstone Inc (BX) on Monday agreed to buy real estate investment trust (REIT) PS Business Parks (PSB) for $7.6 billion, including debt, as dealmaking activity in the real estate sector continues to thrive in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the take-private deal, Blackstone said its real estate affiliates will pay $187.50 cash to shareholders of PS Business Parks (PSB), representing a 12% premium from the stock's closing price last week.

California-headquartered PS Business Parks (PSB) operates a portfolio of industrial, business parks, office buildings, and multifamily properties located across California, Florida, Texas and northern Virginia.

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity involving REITs reached a record high in 2021, driven by a robust U.S. housing market, availability of cheap capital from low interest rates, and strong economic recovery from the pandemic.

Blackstone, the world's largest real estate investor, has been a prolific acquirer of REITs, helping drive transaction volumes in the sector to $140 billion in 2021, up from $17 billion in the previous year, according to real estate services provider JLL.

Blackstone has already agreed to buy three REITs this year alone. Last week, it struck a deal to acquire student housing REIT American Campus Communities Inc in a $12.8 billion deal.

It also agreed to pay $5.8 billion cash to buy multifamily housing REIT Preferred Apartment Communities in February, and in January, it announced a deal to purchase non-publicly traded Resource REIT Inc for $3.7 billion.

Blackstone said its acquisition of PS Business Parks (PSB) is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, J.P. Morgan, and Eastdil Secured acted as advisers on the transaction.

(Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru and Chibuike Oguh in New York; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Lisa Shumaker)

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