Brookfield eyes buyouts of beaten-up real estate companies

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Brookfield Asset Management head of business development Anuj Ranjan (Brookfield, Getty Images)

Brookfield Asset Management has money to burn and it’s targeting public companies undervalued by other investors.

The Toronto-based firm is eyeing deal opportunities and boasts more than $110 billion to invest, Bloomberg reported. The company has invested $30 billion in the past 18 months and is focused on cash-generative businesses.

Head of business development Anuj Ranjan told Bloomberg it’s a great time to be a value investor.

“This environment actually limits competition and creates a ton of opportunity,” Ranjan said. “It’s an opportune time to have that kind of dry powder.”

Brookfield has experience making major investments during times of economic trouble. In 2010, when the world was still reeling from the financial crisis, the company increased its real estate exposure by buying into mall operator General Growth Properties.

Specifics of what Brookfield is looking to invest in are being kept close to the vest. In real estate, however, companies that could potentially be invested in or acquired on the cheap include office and retail REITs, as both continue to struggle in the Covid era.

Brookfield is one of the largest commercial landlords in several major markets, such as Los Angeles and New York City. Its portfolio includes One Manhattan West and New York by Gehry.

But the company’s confusing corporate structure has created challenges. Brookfield typically relies on subsidiaries that generate fees for the parent company. Last year, Brookfield Property Partners was taken private.

Brookfield is looking to spin off its asset management business. The company is planning an entity to control Brookfield’s fee-generating assets, including real estate, infrastructure, credit, private equity and renewable energy, Insider and Bloomberg previously reported.

The goal is to allow investment in a publicly traded entity separate from Brookfield’s $50 billion in direct-owned assets. Chief executive Bruce Flatt told investors a spinoff could create a company worth up to $100 billion.

— Holden Walter-Warner