September 7, 2018 / 5:29 AM / 9 months ago

Trading in Australia's Investa Office Fund halted before takeover update

The logo for Australia's Investa Office Fund (IOF), a real estate investment trust, adorns the front of their office building in central Sydney, Australia, May 28, 2018. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo

(Reuters) - Trading in shares of Australia’s Investa Office Fund was halted on Friday pending an update on a Blackstone Group LP buyout offer for the Sydney-focused landlord, as rival suitor Oxford Properties Group waits in the wings.

Buyout giant Blackstone said on Thursday it was willing to raise its bid for Investa to A$3.3 billion ($2.4 billion) to beat Canadian real estate fund Oxford Properties’ rival offer.

The U.S.-listed firm sounded out its intention to raise its Investa bid to a distribution adjustable A$5.52 per share from A$5.3485, after Oxford Properties - a wholly owned entity of Canada’s Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System - lodged a competing bid of A$5.50.

Blackstone wants Investa to reschedule an adjourned meeting to vote on its bid as quickly as possible and before Sept. 14.

The face-off between the North American firms is indicative of a reach for yield by global investors amid strong Australian commercial rents, especially in Sydney, where downtown capacity is tight.

($1 = 1.3904 Australian dollars)

Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru; Editing by Paul Tait and Stephen Coates

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