After studying law I vectored towards journalism by accident and it's the only job I've done since. It's a job that has taken me on a private jet to Jaisalmer - where I wrote India's first feature on fractional ownership of business jets - to the badlands of west UP where India's sugar economy is inextricably now tied to politics. I'm a big fan of new business models and crafty entrepreneurs. Fortunately for me, there are plenty of those in Asia at the moment.
1. Express Towers, Mumbai Buyer:Blackstone India & Panchshil Realty Deal: Rs 900 crore Blackstone, which has a substantial real estate presence across India, added another feather in its cap in November by picking up Express Towers in the heart of Mumbai’s Nariman Point business district. The deal, for which the private equity firm teamed up with the Chordia brothers from Pune, marked their entry into the city. While precise numbers are hard to come by, estimates suggest that the building was sold at the rate of Rs 25,000 a square feet—a steal compared to NCPA Apartments, which sells at four times that rate. 2. Hindustan Lever House Buyer: HDFC DEAL: Rs 350-400 crore After operating out of Ramon House since 1977, Housing Development Finance Corporation finally decided to buy an office of its own. Chairman Deepak Parekh had always considered Ramon House to be lucky. In July, HDFC bought Hindustan Unilever’s erstwhile headquarters at Backbay Reclamation in south Mumbai. While the value of the deal was undisclosed, it is expected to be about Rs 350-400 crore.
3. Darshan Apartments, Mumbai Buyer: The Bulchandani family Deal: Undisclosed amount The latest deal in this block of sea facing apartments in Mount Pleasant Road in Mumbai’s plush Malabar Hill area went for a staggering Rs 1.35 lakh a square feet. The buyers: The Bulchandani family who already own three other duplex flats in the same complex.
4. Cadbury House, Mumbai Buyer: Dilipkumar Lakhi Deal: Rs 350 crore A Grade-A real estate property in the heart of the city was always going to be easy to sell, but the eventual winner was a surprise. It wasn’t the usual realty suspects but a rich diamond merchant who picked up Cadbury House on Pedder Road for an estimated Rs 350 crore.
5. Commercial Real Estate Buyer: Abu Dhabi Investment Authority Deal: Rs 1,500 crore In a bold move, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority is investing $250 million (Rs 1,500 crore) in Hines India. Hines, which operates a portfolio of real estate offices around the world, is beefing up its presence in India. Abu Dhabi Investment Authority has already invested $300 million (Rs 1,800 crore) with Kotak Realty Fund.