1. Legg Mason Inks Three Deals in Bid to Diversify Revenue Stream “Legg Mason Inc. has signed three new deals in less than 24 hours in a continuing bid to bolster its stable of money management businesses. It is acquiring the equivalent of a 20% stake in Precidian Investments as the Baltimore-based firm tries to expand its lineup of ETFs and bought a majority stake in real-estate specialist Clarion Partners LLC, acquiring 83% of the business for $585 million.” (Wall Street Journal)
  2. Hey, Hedge Farm Managers, You Should Have Started a Mortgage REIT “Executives who run mortgage real estate investment trusts have it good. Many probably don’t need to worry about losing their jobs, closing their funds or taking a pay cut, even after a terrible 2015, when a Bloomberg index of 41 companies plunged almost 20 percent. Including reinvested dividends, the firms lost about 10 percent collectively. Mortgage-REIT executives are uniquely positioned when their firms fall on hard times.” (Bloomberg)
  3. Farm to Market: Taking Stock of the Agricultural Land Grab “Individual investors, for the most part, have stayed away from the big agricultural bets being placed on global food demand increasing over time, driving up land prices even further. Institutions, like the mega pension fund TIAA-CREF, the super-wealthy investor set and overseas agricultural giants are still snapping up land this year, and potentially scouting what will seem like bargains years from now as farm real estate values have started to decline.” (CNBC)
  4. What Does Real Estate Have to Do with Oil? “While the U.S. and OPEC continue production and oil remains around $30 per barrel, OPEC countries, whose main export is petroleum, are facing very difficult consequences. Since oil is the predominant stream of revenue in OPEC countries and it is now providing less than a third of the revenue to governmental budgets, these countries are, for the first time in years, operating at a deficit and facing rising unemployment.” (Seeking Alpha)
  5. Powerball Jackpot: Powering Real Estate? “Powerball jackpots could power a lot of investment… and these days, commercial real estate is one of the more promising investment categories. With that in mind, our analysts at CrediFi set out to have some fun and craft three alternative investment approaches, factoring in that the winning tickets were sold in California, Florida and Tennessee. Of course, these may be of use to others as well, whether using approaches centered on (illiquid) building-level debt and equity, or more liquid capital markets securities.” (Forbes)
  6. The Kleptocrat in Apartment B “If officials can definitively establish that any of these apartments or houses were purchased with funds that were misappropriated or otherwise tainted, there could be a basis for seizing the property, through the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative. There’s no reason to think that, on its own, Treasury’s efforts to pierce the veil of anonymity in real-estate transactions might also burst the Manhattan housing bubble. But if I were a real-estate professional who catered largely to wealthy foreigners, I’d be thinking about the lesson of those Swiss watchmakers.” (The New Yorker)
  7. Real Estate M&A Reaches New Peak “The year just past left more than a few commercial real-estate records in the dust, including merger and acquisition activity. SNL Financial says 2015 established a new high-watermark (34) for the number of M&A deals announced in real estate, although the dollar volume of SNL-covered deals came in second to 2007’s $113.6 billion. The 34 M&A deals SNL reported for calendar ’15 compares to 26 in ’07 and is more than twice the 16 registered in 2014.” (GlobeSt.)
  8. Bloomingdale’s to Open Second International Store “Macy’s announced that a Bloomingdale’s store will open in spring 2017 in Kuwait as part of the company’s strategic partnership with Al Tayer Group LLC. This will be Bloomingdale’s second international location (the first opened in Dubai in 2010) and ahead of Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores scheduled to open in Abu Dhabi in 2018 – all in partnership with Al Tayer.” (Chain Store Age)
  9. Global Direct Commercial Investment Totals Over $700 Billion in 2015 “Based on a new report by JLL, total direct real estate investment reached just over $700 billion in 2015 - on par with 2014 levels - with further modest expansion predicted for 2016. Institutional investors continue to allocate significant capital to real estate, and they are broadening their investment to include segments such as student housing, healthcare and the private rented residential sector in markets outside the U.S.” (World Property Journal)
  10. Appeals Court Upholds Decision to Evict Rent-Stabilized Airbnb Host “The legal gray area that is Airbnb’s operating space in the city is a bit less foggy after a panel of judges shot down an appeal from a Related Companies tenant who was evicted for listing his rent stabilized apartment on the home-sharing website. The ruling is significant in a city with more than 1 million rent-regulated apartments, where Airbnb is battling a perception as an outlaw company.” (The Real Deal)