Spring Investment proposes $436m Astro acquisition

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Proposed acquisition of Astro Japan Property Group’s A$1.1bn portfolio.

JWS is acting for Spring Investment Co, the manager of the Astro Japan Property Group’s portfolio of Japanese tokumei kumiai (TK) property interests, who is co-investing with global private equity firm Blackstone in a $436 million proposal to acquire Astro’s TK interests which was announced on 1 August 2017. The proposal values the properties managed by Spring within Astro’s Japanese retail, office and residential property portfolio at $1.1 billion. The Blackstone/Spring proposal is priced at a 2.38% premium to book value.

Astro, the former Babcock & Brown Japan Property Trust, is the last of the ASX-listed trusts with a Japanese portfolio. The transaction is subject to Astro security holder approval and if approved will see Astro delisted and wound up.

Damian Reichel who led the JWS team said:

“We are delighted to have assisted Spring and its Executive Chairman Mr Eric Lucas in facilitating this transaction.  It has been noted that Spring was almost alone in the listed REIT sector in resisting a discounted equity raising by Astro to reduce leverage.  This transaction instead offers an attractive liquidity event for Astro Japan security holders.”

Herbert Smith Freehills are acting for Astro. Ashurst with Simpson Thatcher & Bartlett are acting for Blackstone. Japanese firms involved are White & Case (Japan) for Spring, Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu for Astro, and Morrison & Foerster (Japan) with Nishimura & Asahi (for Blackstone).

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