- April 2010: Vol. 22 No. 4

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Shopping for Acquisitions Overseas: U.S. Retail REITs Seek High Returns Abroad

by Michael Stuart

In 2009, as the global economy edged toward the brink of collapse, REITs and REOCs raised approximately $38 billion of equity from the public markets. Much of this capital was used to deleverage balance sheets and build cash reserves to survive the downturn, but some of it was earmarked for acquisitions, specifically targeting distressed U.S. properties and international expansion. So far, many of those distressed deals haven’t materialized. Banks continue to hold properties on their balance sheets, and with a stalled transaction market, pricing remains an issue.

In response, many REITs are turning their search for acquisitions abroad. Starved for deals at home and motivated by improving transparency abroad, these REITs hope to tap into a broader spectrum of opportunities, diversify their portfolios, boost returns and maintain long-term growth rate trends by moving more investment to an international platform.

What they’ve found has been promising. When market corr

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