Blackstone, KKR Said to Pursue $1 Billion Container Terminal in Long Beach

cosco shipping
By Sheila Fitzgerald / Shutterstock

By Gillian Tan and Vinicy Chan (Bloomberg) — Cosco Shipping Holdings Co.’s sale of a container terminal in Long Beach, California has drawn interest from potential buyers including Blackstone Group LP and KKR & Co., people familiar with the matter said.

EQT Partners and an arm of Macquarie Group Ltd. have also been studying a deal for the asset, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The facility could be valued at $1 billion or more, depending on the structure of a deal, the people said.

Suitors for the terminal were asked to submit their interest last week, according to the people. Cosco, the Chinese state-owned shipping giant, agreed to sell it to obtain U.S. regulators’ approval for its acquisition of rival container-shipping line Orient Overseas International Ltd.

The Port of Long Beach describes itself as a U.S. gateway for trans-Pacific trade and the second-busiest container seaport in the U.S., according to its website.

Deliberations are at an early stage, and there’s no certainty they will result in a transaction, the people said. Representatives for Blackstone, EQT, KKR and Macquarie declined to comment. A representative for Cosco referred Bloomberg queries to OOIL, which didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

It’s unclear whether Blackstone’s infrastructure fund is pursuing a deal with or without the involvement of its largest investor, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. Bloomberg News reported in October that the kingdom may abstain from transactions or be excused by Blackstone if its participation would impede deals from receiving U.S. regulatory approval.

Other institutional investors have exposure to the region. Last year, EQT acquired 90 percent of Global Gateway South, a terminal in the adjoining Port of Los Angeles, from CMA CGM SA. Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management partially owns TraPac, which operates container terminals in the ports of Los Angeles and Oakland.

Infrastructure investors, including pension funds, have targeted port assets partly due to the steady returns they can provide. In June, British Columbia Investment Management Corp. and IFM Investors agreed to buy stakes in GCT Global Container Terminals Inc. — an operator of facilities in New York, New Jersey, Vancouver and British Columbia — from Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, which remains an investor.

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